On Tuesday, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania traveled to Pittsburgh to pay their respects to the families affected by Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. It was there that a woman widowed by the tragedy gave the president a message. The next day, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed just what the grief-stricken woman said to Trump.
On Saturday, 46-year-old Robert Bowers stormed into the Tree of Life Synagogue in the affluent Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh shouting hate for Jews and killing worshipers in a 20-minute attack.
A primary care physician loved by his community. Two devoted and welcoming brothers. A “vibrant” 97-year-old with “a lot of years left.”
All were among the 11 people whose lives abruptly ended on Saturday when a gunman stormed the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s historic Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
On Sunday, Karl Williams, Allegheny County’s chief medical examiner, released the victims’ identities in a news conference.
“To the victims’ families, to the victims’ friends, we’re here as a community of one for you,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “We will be here to help you through this horrific episode. We’ll get through this darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history by working together.” [Source: CNN]
Quick to politicize the incident and intent not to let a good crisis go to waste, the media immediately blamed the shooting on President Trump’s rhetoric. They even went so far as to claim Trump was unwelcome in Pittsburgh after the attack.
But one person went out of her way to let the president know that his presence was welcome – Margaret Durachko, the widow of Richard Gottfried, who was killed in the shooting.
Richard Gottfried, one of the 11 congregants who were killed in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, was remembered by his family and those who knew him for his religious devotion and his work treating refugees and immigrants at a health clinic where he worked as a dentist.
It wasn’t too shocking that Gottfried was at the synagogue for services when the shooting occurred, says Susan Friedberg Kalson, the CEO of Squirrel Hill Health Center, a non-profit organization that counts immigrants and refugees among half its patients, where Gottfried worked part-time, one or two days a week.
“He was very religious,” she tells TIME of the 65-year-old dentist, who was a regular at services at Tree of Life’s New Light Congregation. “Once I realized what was going on and heard he had not been heard from, I was not at all surprised. He was really devoted to his congregation.”
That strong faith led Gottfried and his wife, Margaret Durachko, to start working part-time at the Squirrel Hill Health Center after it launched a dental practice in 2010. Gottfried was drawn to service and wanted to help anyone in need, Kalson says. The couple frequently volunteered at the free dental clinic through Catholic Charities and opened their own dental practice in 1984. The couple was just retiring from their private practice when the call to work at Squirrel Hill Medical Center came, Kalson says. [Source: TIME]
Trump met with Durachko for almost an hour on Tuesday evening, and the next day, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if she could share what they talked about.
“She said that she wanted to be there in order to show him that people wanted him there,” said Sanders. “He spent a good bit of time with her and said he was very humbled and very saddened by the experience that he had yesterday in Pittsburgh.”
“In the synagogue, the president met with Rabbi Myers,” she added. “They lit the Yahrzeit candles, eleven, one for each of the individuals. The rabbi walked through the history of the church (temple) and walked the president and the first lady through a lot of the detail of what happened on the day. The rabbi talked a lot about the bravery of law enforcement. The president was incredibly impressed by the rabbi, an absolutely incredible man.”
Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, President Trump was welcomed by many with open arms in Pittsburgh following the senseless shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue. Please share this post so that everyone will know the truth about Trump’s trip to Pittsburgh.