Sanders: Media wrongly blaming Trump for attacks

Scott Olson  Getty Images North America

Scott Olson Getty Images North America

The letter comes as part of a broader demand for, as Phyllis Bennis and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II wrote for The Nation on Sunday, "the strongest, most powerful, most unequivocal unity of all those who face racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, transphobic violence, a unity to bring down the forces of white supremacy and hate".

The visit is also the same day the first funerals for those killed at the Tree of Life synagogue begin.

Bowers, a 46-year-old truck driver, appeared in court Monday where a judge ordered he be held without bail.

At the vigils, the common theme has been solidarity with the victims, the survivors and the Squirrel Hill community where the synagogue is located.

"Our investigation of these hate crimes continues", said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in a Monday statement. He had tried to enter a predominantly black church just minutes before the fatal shootings.

On Monday, a suspicious package addressed to CNN headquarters in Atlanta was intercepted.

But it didn't take long before Sanders was criticizing the press for highlighting Trump's harsh rhetoric on the campaign trail in the run up to the midterm elections.

Cesar Sayoc, who has been charged with sending the letter bombs, was an ardent Trump supporter whom acquaintances said had extremist views and who lived in a van covered in pro-Trump and anti-liberal stickers.

Sanders told reporters that people should place the responsibility for the two attacks on the individuals responsible.

"I would ask that the White House staff contact the families and ask them if they want the president to be here", Peduto said.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump congratulated the newly elected president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist with a history of denigrating women, gays and minorities.

Local and religious leaders are also divided on whether Trump should visit.

Pharrell Williams sends Trump legal threat for playing 'Happy' after synagogue shooting
The warning comes after the United States leader attended a rally in IN on Saturday where the song Happy was played. It warned that use of the song constituted a copyright infringement and Pharrell's trademark rights.

"It was an act of hatred and above all, it was an act of evil", Sanders said, adding that the president "cherishes the American Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country".

Some Pittsburgh faith leaders have said they don't want Trump to visit until he makes a full-throated condemnation of white nationalism, but Sanders said the president has already done so "on several occasions" and wants to comfort victims.

"President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognise the dignity of all of us".

The letter was signed by the group's Pittsburgh steering committee and almost 43,000 members of the public, Bend the Arc said.

However, the rabbi of the synagogue targeted in Saturday's shooting said the president would be welcome.

Whatever the President decides to do in Pittsburgh, everyone says the same thing.

Trump will travel to Pennsylvania on Tuesday with first lady Melania Trump.

On Monday evening, Peduto said on CNN that he advised Trump's aides that a visit on Tuesday was too early.

Bend the Arc was founded in 2012 as an advocacy organisation.

And whatever elected officials show up, they should be there to mourn with them, not to create a political event.

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the DC-based Republican Jewish Coalition told CNN that Trump's condemnation of anti-Semitism was "very powerful and strong". He adores Jewish Americans as part of his own family. He also used Trump's phrase, "invaders", to characterize the Central American workers in the caravan making its way through Mexico to the USA border.

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