Opinion: Trump’s Visit to Pittsburgh

President Trump's visit to Pittsburgh was met with anger and protest. Here's my opinion on the subject.


Photo credit to the Los Angeles Times

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism,” a letter from Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh read. In another anti-Trump move, protesters swarmed Pittsburgh with angry signs and chants denouncing the president’s visit to the heartbroken city. Although I agree that Trump’s alarming rhetoric and dividing nature are harmful to the country, I don’t believe it’s fair to restrict him from paying his respects to those who died in Pittsburgh. Whether Trump were to go to Pittsburgh or not, people would still protest and find something to complain about.

In no way am I trying to defend Trump. He does have a history of white nationalism; for instance, he refused to condemn the Unite the Right rally-turned-riot in Charlottesville, Virginia in which three people were killed by white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. Instead of recognizing the Neo Nazi’s fault, Trump pronounced “blame on both sides.” This refusal to denounce white supremacy sparked outrage from even some of Trump’s closest allies.

Protests against President Trump in Pittsburgh. Photo credit to Fox News.

However, as justified as it is to say that Trump refuses to denounce white nationalism, it appears that even when he does something right, he is still somehow in the wrong. As Americans, we shouldn’t want our president to fail; we should hope that he turns around and changes for the better. Otherwise we’re being unpatriotic.

The bottom line is that Trump would be damned if he did go and damned if he didn’t. In this situation, there was no way he could win. If he went, then he wouldn’t be welcome, but if he didn’t go, then he’d be anti-Semitic. It’s important that in such fractured, sad time the country has its consoler-in-chief. Although Trump has yet to step up that to role, he never will if we don’t give him the chance. We should be looking to amend our differences and unite against racism and hatred; we shouldn’t be adding to it.

And Trump’s visit was surprisingly respectful. He and the First Lady laid stones on the memorials of those who died, a Jewish custom for honoring the dead. The President met with the rabbi of the Tree of Life Synagogue who said that he was “pleasantly surprised by a warm and personal side to the president.” He also visited hospitalized survivors and met with a woman whose husband died in the tragic attack. Although Trump returned to his usual, belligerent self shortly after his visit by picking fights with Paul Ryan and harassing migrants, for a short time, America was able to get a glimpse of the President stepping up and filling in the role as consoler-in-chief.

Donald and Melania lay stones on the memorials of the victims alongside Tree of Life rabbi Jeffery Myers. Photo credit to Fox News.

The most important lesson to take away from the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue is that we are all Americans. Whether Jewish or Christian, Republican or Democrat, we are all Americans who deserve respect. There is no room for anti-Semitism, racism, and partisan hatred in this country, and if we don’t learn that, violence like this will not go away.