Former president of Pittsburgh synagogue says Trump not welcome: ‘He is the purveyor of hate speech’

Stefani Reynolds

The former president of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 people were killed on Saturday in a mass shooting, said Monday that President Trump is not welcome in Pittsburgh.

{mosads}Lynnette Lederman, who knew many of the victims of the shooting, accused the president of being “the purveyor of hate speech” while making an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.” 

“I do not welcome this president to my city,” Lederman said. “He is the purveyor of hate speech. The hypocritical words that come from him tell me nothing.”

“We have some very, very strong leadership in this city,” she added. “We have people who stand by us who believe in values … and those are not the values of this president.”

Jeffrey Myers, the current rabbi at Tree of Life synagogue, later said on “New Day” that Trump is “welcome” to visit.

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

Trump told reporters Saturday that he would visit the synagogue, but did not give details on when.

Robert Bowers, 46, has been arrested and charged on 29 counts in the shooting deaths of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue. He is expected in court on Monday.

Lederman’s comments come after a group of progressive Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh penned an open letter to Trump saying he is not welcome in the city until he denounces white nationalism.

Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted,” the group wrote. “You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”

Trump denounced the shooting as “evil” and an “assault on humanity.” He also suggested that the attack could have been prevented if the synagogue had an armed guard. 

The president has long been criticized for his failure to condemn white supremacy after a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. He is again facing criticism for his response to the synagogue shooting.

After first suggesting that armed guards could have prevented the massacre, he went on to tweet about the World Series just hours after the shooting. He also joked about canceling an event due to a bad hair day, after declining to cancel the same event following the shooting. 

In her CNN interview on Monday, Lederman called on leaders to “unite us, to bring us together, and not to divide us.”

Tags CNN Donald Trump Mass shooting Pittsburgh shooting Tree of Life synagogue

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video