President Trump visited the Pittsburgh synagogue where eleven Jews were massacred Saturday as growing protests of up to 2,000 people also converged on the scene Tuesday afternoon.
They were greeted by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who led them inside the temple. Emerging about 18 minutes later, the president went to a memorial outside the building, where the first lady placed a flower and the president placed a small stone on a marker for each of the shooting victims.
Trump briefly chatted with Myers then got back into his motorcade. Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer was also outside the synagogue, along with Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
At least two marches in protest of Trump’s presence in Squirrel Hill, organized by local progressive Jewish groups, are ongoing. According to CNN’s correspondent on the scene, the protests are growing quickly, with thousands of marchers participating.
Sounds of chanting could be heard at the synagogue.
The president, who opponents say has stoked a toxic political climate conducive to acts of violence, planned to visit hospitalized police officers and other people wounded in Saturday’s attack by an avowed anti-Semite at the Tree of Life temple
Trump’s visit to the Pittsburgh synagogue has been controversial, with some local elected officials and Jewish community members asking him not to come.
“We certainly don’t want Trump to feel welcome,” Ella Mason, an IfNotNow activist who lives nearby the Tree of Life congregation and helped organize one of the marches, told the Forward early on Tuesday.
The IfNotNow called one protest at the corner of Darlington Road and Murray Avenue. Local activists with Bend The Arc, another Jewish group, called their own gathering at the nearby intersection of Forbes Avenue and Beachwood Boulevard. The groups were scheduled to meet up.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.
Trump Visits Pittsburgh Synagogue As 2,000 Protesters March