A least a few people in Pittsburgh, including some city officials and the family of at least one of the victims of Saturday’s synagogue shooting, are passing on the opportunity to visit Donald Trump when he visits the city Tuesday, the Washington Post is reporting.
Stephen Halle, nephew of shooting victim Daniel Stein, 71, said that he decided he wanted nothing to do with visiting with Trump. Specifically, he says that he and his family made the decision to avoid meeting with Trump at least in part because of the comments he (Trump) made that an armed guard at the synagogue would have prevented the shooting.
“Everybody feels that they were inappropriate. He was blaming the community.”
Pittsburgh’s mayor, Democrat Bill Peduto, is also not inclined to have Trump visit the city. Although Peduto offered a practical reason: namely, that having a police presence at the funerals scheduled today for some of the victims already strains the city’s police force. Having a president in town would just make matters worse.
“All attention should be on the victims. We do not have enough public safety officials to provide enough protection at the funerals and… at the same time draw attention to a potential presidential visit.”
Regardless, Trump is coming anyway, and Peduto will not be meeting with him and neither will Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said that the Trump administration should consider “the will of the families” of those who died — and get in contact with those families first. https://t.co/5Gyzs2EOSZ
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) October 29, 2018
Also skipping out on Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh will be several Congressional leaders whom Trump has invited. According to a companion Washington Post report, the top four Congressional leaders — House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) – all were invited to join Trump in Pittsburgh. All passed.
McConnell, who called the shootings a “hate crime,” said via his office that he wouldn’t be able to attend. Ryan, however, did offer an excuse, saying through his office that he couldn’t make the trip “on such short notice.”
A couple of Pennsylvania politicians are also skipping out. Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) said he would be keeping prior commitments elsewhere in the state. Pennsylvania’s other Senator, Democrat Robert P. Casey, Jr., appears to have not been invited and stated he wouldn’t be attending anyway. Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, is similarly not expected to attend.
As for Pittsburgh’s city officials, at least one member of the city’s government, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the feeling among the city’s leadership is that Trump is not welcome there.
“No one wants him to come here today.”