As the funerals in Pittsburgh approach for victims of the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States, the city’s mayor has put forth the suggestion that President Donald Trump should delay his scheduled visit until all of those killed have been buried, according to reports from CNN.
Both the president and First Lady Melania Trump currently have plans to stop in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, according to an announcement made on Monday by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The couple will also be accompanied by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
The visit will come three days after the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood was attacked by an armed shooter during Sabbath services. The shooter killed 11 members of the congregation, along with injuring six others — four of which were police officers.
Trump and the other members of his family would be arriving on the first day of the funerals for those killed, which will continue through Friday, according to Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. While speaking with CNN, Peduto spoke about his wish that the days of the funerals be focused on those who were being buried and on their families. Peduto also pointed out that a delay in Trump’s visit might allow local law enforcement to better ensure the protection of the funerals and of other important areas in the city’s Jewish community.
"I would prefer if he would wait until we've had the opportunity to have all of the funerals … That's where our priority is in Pittsburgh."
— Mayor Bill Peduto says ahead of President Trump's planned Tuesday visit to Pittsburgh https://t.co/cIhvZOyZBN
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 30, 2018
Speaking on Monday night, Peduto said, “We did try to get the message out to the White House that our priority tomorrow is the first funeral.”
The mayor went on to say, “I do believe that it would be best to put the attention on the families this week, and if he [Trump] were to visit, choose a different time to be able to do it. Our focus as a city will be on the families and the outreach that they’ll need this week and the support that they’ll need to get through it.”
Peduto made it clear that he would welcome a visit by the president after the completion of the funerals.
Chuck Diamond — who was a former rabbi at Tree of Life and who still resides in the neighborhood — shared Peduto’s sentiment, saying, “I would just ask the president please, please if it’s not too late put it off a week.”
Diamond spoke of his fears that a visit could cause a deeper division in a city that desperately needs healing, saying, “Any president that would come in, any president would be a distraction. And President Trump, he’s so divisive and there’s such strong feelings on all sides, it will be a distraction.”