An organization of Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh put President Trump on notice today that he would not be welcome in their city until he fully renounces the white nationalism that he has not only failed to denounce but has proudly claimed as his guiding philosophy.
Following the shooting yesterday of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, eleven members of the city’s affiliate of the progressive organization Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice sent Trump a letter harshly criticizing the president for purposefully putting minorities in danger through his scorched-earth campaign demonizing non-white, non-Christian Americans.
“Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted,” Bend the Arc wrote. “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 group is surely referring to the president’s failure to fully condemn neo-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia last year after demonstrations over the removal of a Confederate statue in that city left one counter-protestor run over by an alt-right murderer. Bend the Arc stayed true to their name in seeking justice, declaring that Trump was not welcome in Pittsburgh until he put an end to his targeting of immigrants, refugees, and minorities.
Trump has “spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America,” the group wrote. “The Torah teaches that every human being is made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. This means all of us,” they continued. “In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God.”
The Jewish community leaders remarked on the irony that the violent attack took place in Squirrel Hill, literally Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, where Fred Rogers, the host of the long-running PBS children’s show, once lived.
“Here in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we express gratitude for the first responders and for the outpouring of support from our neighbors near and far,” they wrote.
The primary thrust of the angry letter to the president, however, was the made perfectly clear by the four lines in bold type scattered throughout the letter that read somewhere between a prayer and a protest chant.
“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.”
Anybody who reads the letter will get the message loud and clear, but the only way to ensure that Trump himself truly understands it is to make sure that we all vote and take away his majorities in the House and the Senate to put a check on his unrestrained and reckless behavior until we can oust him from office entirely, whether by impeachment or, if that proves too difficult to achieve, in the next presidential election.
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