Earlier today, Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to Chesed Shel Emet cemetery, the Jewish cemetery just west of St. Louis that was desecrated this past weekend. He was accompanied by the Republican governor of Missouri Eric Greitens — who is, himself, Jewish.
While many were happy for Pence’s visit, calling it a welcome sign of solidarity with the Jewish community from an administration that has drawn criticism for what has been seen as a tepid response to anti-Semitic incidents around the country, some St. Louis residents were less than thrilled with his timing and lack of notification.
The cemetery closes at 4 p.m. and residents reported that volunteers were prevented from helping in a clean-up that had been scheduled for the final hour as Pence, segregated from the locals, spoke to the national press corps.
VP Pence off in distance, volunteers being held back while they tour the headstones @kmov pic.twitter.com/JKAtfblqto— Emily Pritchard (@emilyjpritch) February 22, 2017
.@sarahkendzior Yeah, Cemetery closes at 4 &his photo op meant people were left waiting in line on Olive Blvd when they cld hv been helping— Glic (@Glic) February 22, 2017
But either way, the will of the people to help was served, as the thousands who came stayed after the VIPs had left for an interfaith vigil.