More than 16,000 people have signed an open letter to President Trump from the leaders of a Pittsburgh-based Jewish group who say the president will not be welcome in the city unless he denounces white nationalism and stops “targeting” minorities after a mass shooting Saturday at a local synagogue left 11 dead.
The letter, which was published and shared on Sunday, was written by 11 members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc, a national organization for progressive Jews focused on social justice, following what is being called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. The shooting at Tree of Life synagogue also left several people injured, including law enforcement. As of early Monday morning, the letter had 16,533 signatures.
“For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement,” the Jewish leaders wrote. “You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.”
The letter continued: “Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted. 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.”
The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment late Sunday night.
On Saturday, Trump strongly condemned the shooting as “pure evil,” adding that the “vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism” and all other forms of prejudice must be rejected, The Washington Post reported. The president also announced that he would be making a visit to Pittsburgh.
“My immediate reaction was he is not welcome here,” Friedman, who does not attend services at Tree of Life, told The Post in a Sunday phone interview. “I immediately wrote to the rest of our steering committee that he is not welcome, we have to make that clear.”
Four boldfaced lines stand out from the rest of the letter’s 338 words.
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.”
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.”
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.”