Congressional Leaders Skip Trump's Condolence Trip to Pittsburgh
(Bloomberg) -- The four top leaders in Congress declined President Donald Trump’s invitation to join him on a trip to Pittsburgh Tuesday to lead condolences for the attack at a synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 people.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is unable to make the trip because of previously scheduled events in Kentucky to talk about water infrastructure, spokesman Don Stewart said. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin also won’t attend because he was invited on short notice, spokeswoman Ashlee Strong said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York declined the invitation as well because state and local officials had asked the president not to come, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, requested the president to postpone his trip, according to the Washington Post. “If the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh, I would ask that he not do so while we are burying the dead,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “Our attention and our focus is going to be on them, and we don’t have public safety that we can take away from what is needed in order to do both.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president would be meeting with relatives of the victims. He will be joined by his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are Jewish.
The attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue, the Tree of Life, during Saturday services is being investigated as a hate crime. The suspect allegedly posted on social media blaming a Jewish nonprofit that helps resettle refugees for bringing “invaders in that kill our people.” McConnell said on Monday that prosecutors should pursue the death penalty in the case.
Trump has denied that political hostility he stokes at his rallies is connected to the shooting. At rallies and on Twitter, Trump has accused billionaire and liberal donor George Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, of paying protesters and suggested that Democrats are behind a migrant caravan journeying from Honduras to the United States.
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