White House announcement comes after the city’s mayor asked the president to delay a visit until after victims’ funerals
Donald Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to mourn victims of the synagogue massacre, the White House press secretary has announced at a rare and acrimonious official briefing.
But the announcement came shortly after the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, had called on the president not to visit so soon. Funerals for the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting begin on Tuesday.
“If the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh I would ask that he not do so while we are burying the dead,” Peduto told local reporters. He said the city did not have enough public safety officials “to provide enough protection at the funerals and to be able, at the same time, to draw attention away to a potential presidential visit”.
The White House announcement also came despite an open letter to the president from the leaders of a Jewish group in Pittsburgh saying Trump was not welcome there until he publicly states opposition to white nationalism.
Despite these factors, at a tense White House press briefing Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday afternoon that the president intends to make the trip along with his wife, Melania Trump, to express the support of the American people and grieve with the local community.
“The president cherishes the American Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country,” Sanders said. “He adores Jewish Americans as part of his family.”
Her voice cracking with emotion, she added: “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren. His daughter is a Jewish American and his son-in-law is a descendant of Holocaust survivors.” Read more