WASHINGTON – Tragedies like the massacre that took place in a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend usually move people to put politics aside.
But as President Donald Trump touched down Tuesday in a city still reeling from the most deadly anti-Semitic attack in American history, he was greeted by hundreds of protesters singing softly in Hebrew or holding signs – underscoring how controversy tends to follow Trump even on the most solemn of occasions.
Days after a gunman burst into Tree of Life Synagogue killing 11, Trump was once against thrust into the uneasy role of consoling a deeply divided nation even as he has relied on increasingly sharp rhetoric to define Democrats ahead of the midterm election.
Joined by first lady Melania Trump, the president honored a Jewish custom by placing stones on memorials outside the synagogue. Inside, the first couple lit candles in honor of each of the slain worshipers, the White House said.
A difficult task for any president, the job of uniting a grieving nation has proven especially daunting at times for Trump, a combative former businessman who relishes sharp-elbowed rhetoric often aimed at defining his opponents as “evil.”