Pittsburgh mayor suggests Trump should wait to visit

As Pittsburgh prepares to bury the victims of what is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish comm...

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 10:20 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 10:20 AM

As Pittsburgh prepares to bury the victims of what is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history, the city's mayor said Monday he thinks President Donald Trump should wait to make a visit.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will accompany the President and the First Lady, CNN has learned.

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They will make the trip three days after a heavily-armed shooter stormed the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood during Sabbath services, killing 11 congregants. Six others were injured, including four police officers, authorities said.

They also will make the trip on the day of the first funerals, with burials scheduled to continue through Friday, Mayor William Peduto told CNN's Anderson Cooper. Peduto said he wants the focus to be on families of victims. Law enforcement will be stretched by the funerals and their processions, continuing security at the site of the Saturday shooting and at other Jewish institutions, he said.

"We did try to get the message out to the White House that our priority tomorrow is the first funeral," Peduto said Monday night.

"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," the mayor said. "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 says when the city has buried the victims, "I think there's the opportunity for presidential visits."

Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life who grew up and still lives in Squirrel Hill, echoed Peduto.

"I would just ask the President please, please if it's not too late put it off a week," Diamond told CNN's Don Lemon.

"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," Diamond said.

A spokeswoman for Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald declined to comment Monday on the President's visit.

"Mr. Fitzgerald is not issuing any statement on the President's visit. He is supporting the families and whatever they wish," spokeswoman Amie Downs said.

Sanders said the President wants to travel to Pittsburgh to show support. She said the Tree of Life's rabbi "said that he is welcome."

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading services at Tree of Life on Saturday when the shooting occurred, told CNN: "The President of the United States is always welcome.

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

A group of Jewish activists in Pittsburgh told the President in an open letter 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."

Shooting suspect Robert Bowers, a resident of suburban Baldwin, faces at least 29 federal charges, including 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, plus 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder.

He could face the death penalty, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

During a brief federal court hearing Monday, Bowers spoke only to answer questions from the judge. He is being held without bond, and is expected back in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday morning.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 308111

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CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
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Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
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Lamar611084
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Washington5281133
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Warren4284118
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Tate322782
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Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
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Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
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Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

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CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
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Montgomery23992567
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Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
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Elmore10001200
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St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
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Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
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Choctaw58724
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