Rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue Says Trump Is Welcome to Visit Shooting Site

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
October 29, 2018US News

The rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 people on Oct. 27, said that President Donald Trump is welcome to visit the site of the shooting.

“The President of the United States is always welcome. I’m a citizen, he’s my president. He is certainly welcome,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers.

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota tried to goad Myers into blaming someone other than the shooter, as a number of media outlets, pundits, and reporters have tried to blame Trump despite the shooter openly making anti-Trump posts on the social media website Gab.

In one post, Robert Bowers disparaged Trump’s categorization of himself as a nationalist, saying Trump was actually a globalist. In another, he said he did not vote for Trump and the person he was speaking with suggested burning “Make America Great Again” hats. In another, he claimed Trump was controlled by Jewish supporters.

Trump is also considered a pro-Jewish and pro-Israel president. He finalized moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a move widely praised by Jews worldwide, and his daughter Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism before her marriage to Jared Kushner.

Stars of David with names killed
Some Stars of David with names of those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in the Oct. 27 shooting, at a memorial outside the synagogue, on Oct. 28, 2018. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

‘Not a Political Issue’

Responding to the question of who to blame, Myers responded: “I don’t really foist blame upon any person.”

“Hate does not know religion, race, creed, political party. It’s not a political issue in any way, shape, or form. Hate does not know any of those things,” Myers added.

Camerota tried pressing Myers, asking, “What lights the match of hate?”

“I think you’re raising one of those great questions that people far smarter than I can answer,” Myers replied. “I do recall this: if we look in the Bible after the story of the flood and Noah, God regretfully says to Noah, ‘I have learned that man from his youth is prone to evil,’ which is, you would think, a horrific thing for God to tell us.”

Near the end of the interview, Myers was asked if Trump would be welcome in Tree of Life, to which Myers said he would be welcome.

Tree of Life memorial
Holding candles, a group of girls waits for the start of a memorial vigil in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, for the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Progressive Jewish Group Releases Letter

Myers statements came after a progressive Jewish group called Bend the Arc released a letter claiming the president wasn’t welcome to visit Pittsburgh until he denounced white nationalism. The group has been against Trump since he was elected, asking on its website “How do we stop Trump?” and urging people to get involved with the so-called resistance.

President Trump has denounced violent groups in the past, including white supremacists. He denounced white supremacist groups and far-left groups after clashes in Virginia in 2017 led to one death.

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis, I’ve condemned many different groups,” he added, before noting that not everyone at Charlottesville was a white nationalist. In another statement, he said: “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

While some took issue with him also denouncing violence from far-left groups, the main group of Antifa has become infamous for being violent against not only white supremacists but also regular conservatives, police officers, and journalists. Antifa openly says violence is the only answer to white supremacy.

Trump also denounced political violence on Oct. 26 following the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, who is suspected of being involved with mailing pipe bombs to high-profile former and current political figures.

“Political violence must never ever be allowed in America and I will do everything in my power to stop it,” Trump said.

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