Three days after the assassination of Jewish believers in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, US President Donald Trump has arrived in the city. Together with First Lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, he visited the "Tree of Life" synagogue, in which a right-wing extremist shot and killed eleven people on Saturday.
At a makeshift memorial in front of the synagogue, Donald and Melania Trump laid down white roses and, according to Jewish tradition, a stone for every man killed.
Trump's visit was accompanied by protests: According to police, about 1,500 people attended. "Trump, swear off white nationalism" or "hate speech creates hate crimes" read on banners. Protests against a visit to a condolence following a violent act are a highly unusual process in the United States.
Jewish representatives from Pittsburgh had already said shortly after the attack that they refused to visit the President. "President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully condemn white nationalism," it said in an open letter.
The first victims are buried
Coinciding with the President's visit, the first victims were buried in Pittsburgh. Many mourners participated in the services for the first three of the eleven dead, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Melania Trump laid down white roses at memorial stones for the dead. Finance Minister Steve Mnuchin and Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, also visited the synagogue.
On Saturday, a 46-year-old right-wing extremist had invaded the synagogue during the Sabbath, shooting 11 people between the ages of 50 and 97 and injuring six others. The alleged perpetrator is currently still in hospital. Donald Trump condemned the act. "There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America," he said.
Video of the massacre in Pittsburgh: Police publishes audio report
However, critics accuse Trump of fueling tensions with his rhetoric and being responsible for acts of violence such as those in Pittsburgh. Trump, in turn, blamed the media for the growing division of the country. During his visit to Pittsburgh, the President initially did not speak publicly.
The Democratic mayor of the city, Bill Peduto, and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf had announced they would not show up with President Trump. Peduto is reported to have asked Trump not to attend the funerals, according to consensus reports. The Tree of Life synagogue rabbi, Jeffrey Myers, said in advance that the president was welcome. He greeted Trump and his family during their condolence visit.
"Mourn with the people"
Trump told Fox News before his trip to Pittsburgh that he wanted to pay tribute to his visit. Trump also wanted to visit injured people in the hospital, including policemen who were wounded in the attack. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Donald and Melania Trump wanted to express support for the American people and to mourn the people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In the interview with Fox News, Trump renewed his criticism of media that he claims to spread fake news. The criticism that he has recently openly propagated nationalism, dismissed the US president. "I'm proud of this country and that's what I call nationalism," he said. "I see no other association in it."
Before the assassination of the synagogue, another man had sent several letter bombs to Trump critics. He was arrested the day before the attack in Pittsburgh. The two incidents occurred just days before the major US congressional elections.