Trump visits Pittsburgh synagogue

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' Five takeaways from Mississippi's Senate debate Watergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' MORE and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems to investigate Ivanka Trump's emails | Judge blocks Trump from denying asylum to migrants | Turkey pardon today at WH The Hill's Morning Report — Are Pelosi’s Democratic detractors going too far? The Hill's 12:30 Report - New White House threat to Acosta's press pass | Trump defends criticism of McRaven | Hamilton biographer to headline WHCA dinner MORE on Tuesday visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a gunman carried out the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. 

The Trumps paid their respects to the dead by lighting candles inside the synagogue's vestibule for each of the 11 victims of Saturday's massacre. They then laid stones atop makeshift memorial stars outside the building, a traditional Jewish mourning ritual, and also set down white flowers.

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Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., accompanied the president and first lady during their visit, as did Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' Senate Homeland Security chairman requests briefing on Ivanka Trump emails Gowdy requests info on Ivanka Trump's personal email use MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHillicon Valley: House Dems to investigate Ivanka Trump's email use | Trump calls controversy 'fake news' | Malware attributed to Russian hackers | Holiday cyber shopping tips | Group calls for Facebook whistleblowers Fox News contributor: ‘Unforgivable’ for Ivanka Trump to use private email after witnessing 2016 campaign Trump says Ivanka emails 'fake news' and unlike Clinton controversy MORE, the president's daughter and son-in-law and White House advisers who are Jewish, and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinUS sanctions alleged Russia-Iran scheme to send oil to Syria Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails On The Money: Senior GOP senator warns Trump against shutdown | Treasury sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | HQ2 deal brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Senate confirms Bowman to Fed board MORE.

Trump and his family members afterward visited University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital, where he met with four police officers who were wounded by the gunman. 

Trump made the trip to Pittsburgh over the objections of some public officials and Jewish leaders who asked him to put off a visit, which has been the subject of controversy amid a national debate about gun violence, anti-Semitism and political hatred.

But the president was reportedly wary of being criticized for waiting too long to visit the city and he was greeted by the rabbi of Tree of Life upon his arrival.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers previously told CNN that Trump was "certainly welcome" to make the visit, saying, "I am a citizen. He is my president."

Tuesday's trip was full of reminders of the storm surrounding Trump's presence.  

Protesters carrying signs saying "hate has no home in Squirrel Hill" and imploring Trump to "stop encouraging hate" stood outside the synagogue in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood as the president arrived. 

 

Local officials did not greet Trump at the airport after Air Force One landed, as they typically do when the president travels outside of Washington, D.C. Along the motorcade route, some onlookers gave Trump a thumbs down and others raised their middle fingers to him. 

All four congressional leaders also turned down invitations from the White House to accompany Trump to Pittsburgh.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPoll: Trump easily defeats potential GOP rivals in hypothetical primary matchups Ethics panel calls on House, Senate leaders to act on anti-sexual harassment bill The Hill's Morning Report — Are Pelosi’s Democratic detractors going too far? MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellObama: Filibuster makes it 'almost impossible' to govern Ethics panel calls on House, Senate leaders to act on anti-sexual harassment bill Don’t fret the lame duck MORE (R-Ky.) were unable to make the trip due to scheduling conflicts, their offices said. Ryan's staff said he could not make it on such short notice. House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem Ben McAdams defeats GOP's Mia Love for Utah House seat Fudge endorses Nancy Pelosi in surprise move Obama praises Pelosi: 'One of the most effective legislative leaders' in history MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerObama: Filibuster makes it 'almost impossible' to govern Democrats need their top general — Pelosi — in age of Trump Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (D-N.Y.) also decided not to attend. 

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D) had suggested that Trump delay his visit until the funerals for the victims were completed.  

Trump has struggled to play the role of consoler in chief in times of national crisis, and his response to the Pittsburgh massacre has proven no different. 

The president delivered a forceful condemnation of anti-Semitism in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's shooting but decided to go ahead with a campaign rally in Illinois that night.

Trump has previously declined to deliver unequivocal condemnation of neo-Nazis and other extremists in key moments, such as after last year's killing of a counterprotester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Robert Gregory Bowers, the alleged Pittsburgh gunman, echoed Trump's rhetoric on the migrant caravan, calling it a group of "invaders" in a social media post before the shooting. 

Bowers railed against HIAS, a Jewish refugee resettlement organization he accused of helping bring people to the United States to carry out violence.

Updated at 5:49 p.m.