Numerous protests are planned for Tuesday in Pittsburgh, as leaders grapple with an unwelcome visit from a president who was explicitly asked to stay away from the city still mourning an anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue there. Tuesday is the day funerals begin for the 11 members of the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill who were gunned down during a mass shooting Saturday that was inspired by both anti-Semitic and anti-immigration hatred.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are expected to arrive in Pittsburgh today at 3:45pm, in defiance of local political leaders, synagogue staff, and the local community. The city’s mayor, Bill Peduto, said Tuesday the city does not have sufficient public safety resources to both protect the funerals and prepare for a presidential visit.
“If the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh, I would ask that he not do so while we are burying the dead,” Mayor Peduto said, according to local news station WPXI.
Both the mayor and Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced they will not meet with Trump upon his visit. A spokesperson for Wolf told WPXI the governor’s decision was based on respect for the victims’ families, who told him they do not want Trump in town during the Tuesday funerals.
The city itself appears enraged by Trump’s decision to flout its wishes, with rallies and protests poised to fill the streets even on the day funerals begin for the 11 people killed on Saturday.
“President Trump’s words, actions and policies have espoused and emboldened the type of violence and hatred our community so tragically endured with the massacre of 11 Jews in their place of worship,” reads a Facebook event description on a page for the ‘Stand Together in Solidarity’ protest, which over 1,300 people have pledged to attend at 4pm.
An event page for another protest rally at 3pm — organized by several leftist Jewish groups, like the anti-Israeli occupation movement IfNotNow and local queer organization Nightshade Pittsburgh — refers to Trump as the “enabler-in-chief,” tying the rise of anti-Semitism and white supremacism to the president’s “rhetoric and policies.”
And a description for a rally from 4pm-6pm organized by the Pittsburgh LGBTQ nonprofit Delta Foundation, Pittsburgh’s Women’s March chapter, Bend The Arc Jewish Action Network, and more says that President Trump will only be “welcome here when you fully denounce white nationalism.”
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