Donald Trump has prompted a backlash after urging voters to back a Republican politician for showing more compassion over the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting than other local politicians.
The US President on Wednesday singled out Representative Keith Rothfus, a Republican from Pennsylvania, after visiting the city where 11 worshippers were shot dead.
He tweeted: “Yesterday in Pittsburgh I was really impressed with Congressman Keith Rothfus (far more so than any other local political figure). His sincere level of compassion, grief and sorrow for the events that took place was, in its own way, very inspiring. Vote for Keith!”
Thousands of protesters holding signs reading ”TRUMP’S LIES KILL” and “TRUMP LOVES NAZIS” greeted the President and his family on Tuesday as they visited the synagogue.
The trip to Pittsburgh, which sources said congressional leaders of both parties declined to join, came as Trump drew widespread disapproval for inflammatory rhetoric that critics said may have helped provoke the deadliest attack ever on American Jews.
Earlier in the week, the city’s mayor said the planned visit would be ill-timed and urged Trump not to visit “while we are burying the dead” so the attention would remain on the victims and their funerals.
Trump’s latest intervention caused more anger.
On Tuesday, Trump visited the Tree of Life temple where Saturday’s shooting rampage occurred, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his daughter and son-in-law, who are Jewish and serve as White House advisers, were also present.
Trump, who according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, described his visit as “very humbling and sad”, left in his motorcade after about 30 minutes at the synagogue. He made no public remarks.