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Trump heads to Pittsburgh in wake of synagogue massacre

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, White House press ...

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 3:41 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 3:42 AM

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.

In an emotional announcement at the beginning of Monday's press briefing, Sanders called the "heinous killing" at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh "a chilling act of mass murder" and an "act of hatred," adding that anti-Semitism is a "plague to humanity" and something that all Americans "have a duty to confront."

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The mass killing at a Pittsburgh synagogue was the deadliest anti-Semitic incident in US history. A heavily armed man burst in on a Jewish religious ceremony and killed 11 people before telling a law enforcement officer "I just want to kill Jews" after a week that was heavy with other acts of extremist violence motivated by politics.

"The American people reject hatred, bigotry, prejudice and violence," she said during the first White House press briefing in 26 days.

Sanders noted that the President -- whose daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and three grandchildren are Jewish -- "adores" and "cherishes" the Jewish community, her voice breaking at times.

"The President cherishes the American Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country. He adores Jewish Americans as part of his own family. The President is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren," she said, audibly beginning to cry. "His daughter is a Jewish American and his son-in-law is a descendant of Holocaust survivors."

Mixed welcome

Sanders also said that the President wants to go to Pittsburgh to show support, adding that the Tree of Life rabbi "said that he is welcome" there, despite calls from a group of Pittsburgh Jewish leaders for him not to make the trip.

In an open letter to the President Sunday, the group told Trump that his words and policies over the past three years "have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement," and that he is not welcome until he "fully (denounces) white nationalism."

Tammy Hepps, a member of "Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh" who knew victims of Saturday's shooting, told CNN she wouldn't welcome Trump until he renounces "the words and the policies and the deeds that you have done that led to this day."

"The blood of these victims is on President Trump's hands," she told CNN. "That he has knowingly and intentionally and selfishly for years used this rhetoric to endanger our community and all the other communities that have been on the front line since he took office and even before that."

But Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading services at Tree of Life during Saturday's shooting, said that "the President of the United States is always welcome."

"I'm a citizen. He's my president. He is certainly welcome," he said.

On Monday, Sanders said that the Trumps would "express the support of the American people and grieve with the Pittsburgh community" during their trip.

Defense of rhetoric

Sanders also defended Trump's rhetoric in the wake of the Pittsburgh attack and the bomb mailings last week.

"In moments when our country is hurting like we've seen in the last several days, to find ways to bring our country together and we've seen him do exactly that," she said. "However, the President is going to continue to draw contrasts, particularly as we go into the final days of the election, the differences between the two parties, particularly on policy differences, you'll continue to see him make those contrasts."

Sanders also offered a pointed critique to the media for suggesting Trump's rhetoric was part of what influenced the attackers.

"The very first thing he did was condemn the attacks, both in Pittsburgh and the pipe bombs. The very first thing the media did was blame the President and make him responsible for these ridiculous acts," she said. "That is outrageous, that that would be the very first reaction of so many people across this country. The only person responsible for carrying out either of these acts were the individuals who carried them out."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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