Trumps pay tribute at synagogue where 11 were fatally shot

Lynne Jaworski
University of Pittsburgh sophomore Lynne Jaworski, from Homer City, Pa., holds a sign and yells as President Donald Trump’s motorcade arrives at the University of Pittsburgh’s Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. President Trump is paying a visit to the Pittsburgh Police who were wounded Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, when a gunman interrupted worship services at the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11, and wounding six. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (AP/Gene J. Puskar)
A man holds a sign outside the University of Pittsburgh's Presbyterian Hospital before the arrival of President Donald Trump's motorcade in Pittsburgh, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. President Trump is paying a visit to the people who were wounded Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, when a gunman interrupted worship services at the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11, and wounding six. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A man holds a sign outside the University of Pittsburgh’s Presbyterian Hospital before the arrival of President Donald Trump’s motorcade in Pittsburgh, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. President Trump is paying a visit to the people who were wounded Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, when a gunman interrupted worship services at the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11, and wounding six. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (AP/Gene J. Puskar)
Protesters stand down the street from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump along with Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, and President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser Jared Kushner visit following Saturday's shooting at the synagogue. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Protesters stand down the street from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump along with Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, and President Donald Trump’s White House senior adviser Jared Kushner visit following Saturday’s shooting at the synagogue. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh to honor the victims of a mass shooting at the synagogue last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh to honor the victims of a mass shooting at the synagogue last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (AP/Matt Rourke)
Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh to honor the victims of a mass shooting at the synagogue last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh to honor the victims of a mass shooting at the synagogue last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (AP/Matt Rourke)
Members of the crowd hold up signs as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Members of the crowd hold up signs as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump
Melania Trump
Jared Kushner, center, and Ivanka Trump, left, greet Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, right, as they arrive with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump outside Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump, Melania Trump
President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, puts down a stone from the White House at a memorial for those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
This Oct. 29, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows deployers from Headquarters Company, 89th Military Police Brigade, Task Force Griffin get ready to board a C-130J Super Hercules from Little Rock, Arkansas, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The Trump administration on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, announced plans to deploy 5,200 active duty troops, double the 2,000 who are in Syria fighting the Islamic State group, to the border to help stave off the caravans. The main caravan, still in southern Mexico, was continuing to melt away, from the original 7,000 to about 4,000, as a smaller group apparently hoped to join it. (Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss/U.S. Air Force via AP)
This Oct. 29, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows deployers from Headquarters Company, 89th Military Police Brigade, Task Force Griffin get ready to board a C-130J Super Hercules from Little Rock, Arkansas, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The Trump administration on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, announced plans to deploy 5,200 active duty troops, double the 2,000 who are in Syria fighting the Islamic State group, to the border to help stave off the caravans. The main caravan, still in southern Mexico, was continuing to melt away, from the original 7,000 to about 4,000, as a smaller group apparently hoped to join it. (Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss/U.S. Air Force via AP) (AP/Airman 1st Class Zoe Wockenfuss)
Donald Trump, Melania Trump
Ivanka Trump, right, departs Air Force One with Jared Kushner on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 in Coraopolis, Pa. They came with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to Pittsburgh honor the victims of the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (AP/Keith Srakocic)
Donald Trump, Melania Trump
President Donald Trump, right, departs Air Force One as he arrives with first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 in Coraopolis, Pa. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh honor the victims of the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (AP/Keith Srakocic)
Holocaust survivor Shulamit Bastacky, 77, sits in the lobby of her apartment building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Bastacky was friends with Melvin Wax, one of the victims of the weekend attack on a nearby synagogue. President Trump is coming to pay his respects, and Bastacky hopes people will refrain from protesting. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Holocaust survivor Shulamit Bastacky, 77, sits in the lobby of her apartment building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Bastacky was friends with Melvin Wax, one of the victims of the weekend attack on a nearby synagogue. President Trump is coming to pay his respects, and Bastacky hopes people will refrain from protesting. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed) (AP/Allen G. Breed)
David Dvir stands in front of his business, Murray Avenue Locksmith, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Dvir, who was born in Israel but is an American citizen, voted for Donald Trump and doesn't agree with Jewish leaders who say the president shouldn't come to help mourn the victims of last week's synagogue massacre. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
David Dvir stands in front of his business, Murray Avenue Locksmith, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Dvir, who was born in Israel but is an American citizen, voted for Donald Trump and doesn’t agree with Jewish leaders who say the president shouldn’t come to help mourn the victims of last week’s synagogue massacre. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed) (AP/Allen G. Breed)
Kristin Wessell, right, hands a bouquet of flowers to Marianne Novy on Murray Avenue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Wessell was volunteering to bring some cheer to the neighborhood following Saturday's deadly attack on the nearby Tree of Life synagogue. Neither woman thinks President Trump should come to town. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Kristin Wessell, right, hands a bouquet of flowers to Marianne Novy on Murray Avenue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Wessell was volunteering to bring some cheer to the neighborhood following Saturday’s deadly attack on the nearby Tree of Life synagogue. Neither woman thinks President Trump should come to town. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed) (AP/Allen G. Breed)
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Lynne Jaworski
A man holds a sign outside the University of Pittsburgh's Presbyterian Hospital before the arrival of President Donald Trump's motorcade in Pittsburgh, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. President Trump is paying a visit to the people who were wounded Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, when a gunman interrupted worship services at the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11, and wounding six. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Protesters stand down the street from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump along with Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, and President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser Jared Kushner visit following Saturday's shooting at the synagogue. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh to honor the victims of a mass shooting at the synagogue last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Protesters demonstrate near Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were visiting a memorial in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh to honor the victims of a mass shooting at the synagogue last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Members of the crowd hold up signs as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump
Melania Trump
Donald Trump, Melania Trump
This Oct. 29, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows deployers from Headquarters Company, 89th Military Police Brigade, Task Force Griffin get ready to board a C-130J Super Hercules from Little Rock, Arkansas, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The Trump administration on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, announced plans to deploy 5,200 active duty troops, double the 2,000 who are in Syria fighting the Islamic State group, to the border to help stave off the caravans. The main caravan, still in southern Mexico, was continuing to melt away, from the original 7,000 to about 4,000, as a smaller group apparently hoped to join it. (Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss/U.S. Air Force via AP)
Donald Trump, Melania Trump
Donald Trump, Melania Trump
Holocaust survivor Shulamit Bastacky, 77, sits in the lobby of her apartment building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Bastacky was friends with Melvin Wax, one of the victims of the weekend attack on a nearby synagogue. President Trump is coming to pay his respects, and Bastacky hopes people will refrain from protesting. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
David Dvir stands in front of his business, Murray Avenue Locksmith, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Dvir, who was born in Israel but is an American citizen, voted for Donald Trump and doesn't agree with Jewish leaders who say the president shouldn't come to help mourn the victims of last week's synagogue massacre. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Kristin Wessell, right, hands a bouquet of flowers to Marianne Novy on Murray Avenue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Wessell was volunteering to bring some cheer to the neighborhood following Saturday's deadly attack on the nearby Tree of Life synagogue. Neither woman thinks President Trump should come to town. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — One stone and one white rosebud for each victim.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid homage Tuesday to each of the 11 people slain in the worst instance of anti-Semitic violence in American history. As the Trumps placed their tributes outside the Tree of Life synagogue, protesters nearby shouted that the president was not welcome.

The emotional, dissonant scene reflected the increasingly divided nation that Trump leads, one gripped by a week of political violence and hate and hurtling toward contentious midterm elections that could alter the path of a presidency.

On their arrival in Pittsburgh, the Trumps entered the vestibule of the synagogue, where they lit candles for each victim before stepping outside. Shouts of “Words matter!” and “Trump, go home!” could be heard from demonstrators gathered not far from where a gunman had opened fire on Saturday.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who had been conducting services when the shots rang out, gestured at the white Star of David posted for each victim. At each, the president placed a stone, a Jewish burial tradition, while the first lady added a flower. They were trailed by first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who are Jewish.

Near the synagogue, flowers, candles and chalk drawings filled the corner, including a small rock painted with the number “6,000,011,” adding the victims this week to the estimated number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The Trumps later spent more than an hour at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where some of the victims are recovering. The couple’s motorcade passed several hundred protesters on the street and a sign that said “It’s your fault.” Inside, Trump visited with wounded police officers and spent an hour with the widow of victim Dr. Richard Gottfried, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump stepped into the role of national consoler, a title he wears uncomfortably, with his visit to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. More at home waging partisan warfare than assuaging America’s grief, Trump has shied away from public displays of unity in the wake of other tragedies.

Sanders said Trump did not speak publicly Tuesday to denounce anti-Semitism because he has spoken about it before.

“He wanted today to be about showing respect for the families and the friends of the victims as well as for Jewish Americans,” Sanders said.

Questions have long swirled about the president’s credibility as a unifier. Since his 2016 Republican campaign for the White House, Trump has at times been slow to denounce white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other hate-filled individuals and groups that found common cause with his nationalistic political rhetoric.

Trump traveled to the historic hub of the city’s Jewish community as the first funerals were held for the victims, who range in age from 54 to 97. The dead include a set of brothers, a husband and wife, professors, dentists and a physician.

Hundreds of protesters assembled to show their displeasure with Trump’s presence, some carrying signs that said “Hate has No Home in Squirrel Hill” and “Trump Loves Nazis.”

Squirrel Hill resident Paul Carberry said Trump should not have visited until the dead were buried.

“He didn’t pull the trigger, but his verbiage and actions don’t help,” Carberry said.

But Shayna Marcus, a nurse who rushed to the synagogue on Saturday to help with the wounded, said she felt that the president was taking an unfair portion of the blame.

“I don’t think focusing on Trump is the answer — or on politics,” said Marcus, whose four yarmulke-wearing boys carried signs in support of the president.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, back in Washington, told reporters: “If people are there to protest, that’s their right. For the president, it was not a moment for politics.”

When Air Force One touched down at the airport outside Pittsburgh, the Trumps were not greeted by the usual phalanx of local officials that typically welcomes a visiting president, a reflection of controversy surrounding the visit.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, told reporters before the visit was announced that the White House ought to consult with the families of the victims about their preferences and asked that the president not come during a funeral. Neither he nor Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf appeared with Trump.

Beth Melena, campaign spokeswoman for Wolf, said the governor based his decision to stay away on input from the victims’ families, who told him they did not want the president to be there on the day their loved ones were being buried.

As Trump’s motorcade wound through downtown Pittsburgh, some onlookers saluted the president with upraised middle fingers and others with downturned thumbs.

The White House had invited the top four congressional leaders to join Trump in Pennsylvania, but none accompanied him.

A spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he already had events in his home state of Kentucky, pushing back on the suggestion that he declined. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said he could not attend on short notice. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also opted not to participate.

___

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed and Maryclaire Dale in Pittsburgh and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings: https://apnews.com/Pittsburghsynagoguemassacre

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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