Members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community have a message for President Donald Trump, should he try to visit a city in mourning following what is believed to be the deadliest anti-Semitic hate crime in American history: Stay the hell away.
In an open letter addressed to the president, the Pittsburgh chapter of Bend the Arc, a national Jewish social justice group, stated in no uncertain terms that Trump is not welcome in their community, thanks to his long history of emboldening racism and discrimination. They wrote:
For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.
The group concluded their message by acknowledging that there may be those in Pittsburgh who disagree with them, but said that “we know we speak for a diverse and unified group when we say: President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.”
Based on the reaction to their statement, it appears Bend The Arc aren’t the only ones who feel this way. Since their letter went live on Sunday, more than 20,000 people have signed their names to the group’s demand that Trump along with the the Republican Party as a whole:
- Fully denounce white nationalism,
- Stop targeting and endangering all minorities,
- Cease your assault on immigrants and refugees, and
- Commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.
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Among those joining the group in their rejection of any potential Trump visit is Lynnette Lederman, the former synagogue president at Tree of Life. Speaking with CNN’s New Day on Monday, Lederman was unequivocal in naming Trump a persona non grata. “He is the purveyor of hate speech,” she said. “The hypocritical words that come from him tell me nothing.”
We have people who stand by us, who believe in values—not just Jewish values—but believe in values. And those are not the values of this president, and I do not welcome him to Pittsburgh.
On Saturday, Trump told reporters that he planned to visit Pittsburgh in the near future, although no date has been set.