Just this past weekend, 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh by a gunman apparently furious over Jewish support for refugees. Some of the dead had survived the Holocaust, but they met their end at the hands of a man inspired in part by a newly despotic leader, President Donald Trump.
He’s set himself apart from those concerned for the greater good of humanity through his incessant violent rhetoric, and his supporters have fallen in line. This week, a Jewish woman identified publicly only as Merissa confronted a Trump supporter on a flight she was taking to Los Angeles to be with her family, which itself lost members to the Holocaust. She wasn’t angry — simply taken aback and deeply off-put by the man’s red “Make America Great Again” hat.
In a letter she passed him, she wrote:
‘A lot of people were upset, angry + scared on the plane when they saw your hat. For you, I want to assume it’s about politics, economics, + the support of a charismatic man. I wonder if you mean to scare black people, Jews, immigrants? To us, your hat sanctions our death, our murder, our evisceration because your hat supports a man who does little to help us + so much to fuel hatred, violence + cruelty.’
My friend flying to be w/ her family after synagogue killings gave this note to a man on her flight w/ a MAGA hat. He read it all. “A lot of people on the plane were upset, angry, & scared when they saw your hat. To us, your hat sanctions our death, our murder, our evisceration.” pic.twitter.com/fHuNrnFiLW
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) November 1, 2018
Indeed — no matter the angry ranting from Trump supporters passionate about their dear leader, the current U.S. president regularly pushes hatred, cruelty, and even direct violence.
He’s claimed lately, for instance, that a “caravan” of migrants attempting to make their way to the United States through Central America is an “invasion” that should be met with military force. To that end, the government announced a deployment of thousands of active duty troops to the U.S. border with Mexico — in all, more than are currently deployed in Iraq. In reality, the people he’s seeking to confront with the might of the U.S. Armed Forces are just seeking asylum. They’re not some kind of army.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Since the left dares point these things out, the president and many of his supporters are convinced they’re funding the caravan. There’s been talk about the Pittsburgh shooter taking direct inspiration from this line of rhetoric, believing Jews to be funding a takeover of the United States — a tired, old, but still alive and dangerous anti-Semitic trope.
Even in the aftermath of the shooting, the Jewish woman who wrote the above letter noted, Trump has proven no friend to struggling minorities. He suggested — as he has after other tragedies — that things could have gone differently if there’d been armed security at the synagogue.
‘Our president blamed Saturday’s killing spree on the synagogue… Do you have an armed guard when you pray? God should be safe to convene with, right?’
The man who shared her letter, public defender Scott Hechinger, claimed that the Trump supporter read every word — although there’s no apparent word as to whether or not he was moved to action.
The interaction helps expose the deep divide across the United States heading into the midterms and beyond.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot