US president Donald Trump met with furious protests when he visited the Tree of Life synagogue to pay tributes to the victims of Saturday’s shooting. Trump was accompanied by his family, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. Around 2000 people had gathered to protest Trump’s visit and they shouted slogans, demanding Trump “Leave Pittsburgh, leave Pennsylvania.” They said that the white supremacist views promulgated and propagated by Donald Trump has ignited hate crimes in the country and that had led to the Pittsburgh shooting.
According to reports, around 70,000 people signed an open letter from Pittsburgh-based Jewish leaders saying that President Trump was “not welcome” in the Pittsburgh unless he “fully denounces white nationalism”. Four senior Republican and Democratic congressional leaders also declined a White House invitation to accompany Mr Trump in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh mayor also expressed his unwillingness to welcome Donald Trump to the city.
On October 26, a man named Robert Bowers opened fire at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue while congregation members were praying and participating in a baby naming ceremony. Eleven people were killed. The shooter was arrested and is now under custody, charged with around 29 cases. The Jewish community in the country expressed its anguish over the incident and rising hate crimes in the country. GoFundme pages created by an Iranian student and the American Muslim community raised and donated around 90,0000 and 20,0000 USD respectively to the victims in solidarity.
Three days prior to the Tree of Life attack, a white man, Gregory Bush, shot and killed Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones, who are both Black, at a supermarket in Kentucky. A resident of the region who was in the parking lot at the time, clutching his gun, reported that the gunman walked by him and said “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.” Fifteen minutes prior to killing them, Bush had tried to enter a predominantly Black church. It is considered to be an anti-black hate crime.
Donald Trump’s, ascent to presidency in USA was marked by a surge in hate crimes triggered by racism, anti-immigrant feelings and Islamophobia. Many have noted that white nationalists are having a free run in the country. Recent reports shows that there has been an increase in the activities of the notorious white supremacist organisations and groups like Klu Klux Klan (KKK) in the country.