PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — To Marianne Novy, President Donald Trump isn’t wanted “unless he really changes his ways.” For David Dvir, politics should take a pause for grief: “It’s our president, and we need to welcome him.”
Trump is once again called upon to step into the all-too-frequent role of national consoler after the worst instance of anti-Semitic violence in American history.
He faces an uneasy welcome on Tuesday in the anguished community of Squirrel Hill, home to the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 people were gunned down during Sabbath services. The president’s visit to the Pittsburgh neighborhood, where Novy and Dvir live, comes as he struggles to balance appeals for national unity with partisan campaign rhetoric just a week before contentious midterm elections.
Trump said late Monday he was looking forward to the visit.
“Well, I’m just going to pay my respects,” Trump told Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham. “I’m also going to the hospital to see the officers and some of the people that were so badly hurt.”
Trump is traveling to the historic hub of the city’s Jewish community as the first funerals are scheduled to be held for the victims, who range in age from 54 to 97. He is expected to meet with first responders and community leaders. The death toll includes a set of brothers, a husband and wife, professors, dentists and a physician. It was not immediately clear whether Trump, who will be joined by first lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, would meet with any family members.
The White House said the purpose of Trump’s visit was to “express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Pittsburgh community.”