President Donald Trump and several family members traveled to Pittsburgh Tuesday to offer their support for the victims of Saturday’s horrific attack that killed 11 Jewish worshipers and injured six.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading services at the Tree of Life synagogue when the gunman entered, said that “the President of the United States is always welcome.”
Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto, however, told Anderson Cooper following the attacks that it would be best if Trump waited to visit, or didn’t come at all.
“We did try to get the message out to the White House that our priority tomorrow is the first funeral,” Peduto said Monday night. “I do believe that it would be best to put the attention on the families this week, and if he (Trump) were to visit, choose a different time to be able to do it.”
Peduto, who has served as Pittsburgh’s mayor since 2014, had previously rebuked Trump’s suggestion that places of worship should have minimal armed security in an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.
“I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques, and churches filled with armed guards,” Peduto claimed.
Peduto, notably, is an open-borders Democrat who has been a leading advocate for increased refugee resettlement in the city of Pittsburgh. In Sept. 2015, he was among 18 U.S. mayors who urged the Obama administration to eventually resettle 100,000 refugees in the U.S., as opposed to the planned 10,000.
The mayors, under the banner of “Cities United for Immigrant Action,” wrote a letter to President Barack Obama claiming that they “have taken in refugees, and will help make room for thousands more.”
“This is where our responsibility to our fellow man is tested. This is also an opportunity for a city like Pittsburgh with a great network or service providers and a community urging us to act, to say to refugees seeking a new, safe homeland where they can set roots: Pittsburgh welcomes you,” Peduto told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after signing the letter.
His sentiments, however, were not in line with the views of American voters, 49 percent of whom did not want the government to accept any more refugees, according to a Rasmussen poll from that same month.
A few months later, after the Paris nightclub attack that drew pause among several U.S. governors over the resettlement program, Peduto said in an interview that he wants to continue to welcome 500 refugees to his city each year.
The Department of State’s Refugee Processing Center ranks Texas, California, and New York as the top three resettlement states in the nation over last ten years, but Pennsylvania is not far behind, sitting in ninth place overall.
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Anna Marie Bolton is a reporter for The Ohio Star.