‘Anyone who does a thing like this to innocent people … they should really pay the ultimate price…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Democratic Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he quickly ended a call with President Donald Trump after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting last week because Trump wanted to talk about Pennsylvania’s death penalty laws.
Peduto recalled last week’s events to The Washington Post and said he remembers standing outside the synagogue when he received a phone call from Trump.
The president offered his thoughts and prayers and promised to help the city recover from the shooting’s aftermath in any way he could, the mayor said.
Trump even offered Peduto a direct line to the Oval Office.
Trump then began talking about Pennsylvania’s death penalty laws and how harsher sentences are a necessary deterrent to potential mass murderers, Peduto said.
The mayor recalled being so stunned that he didn’t reply.
“I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?” Peduto told The Post, noting that he felt “numb.”
The death penalty wouldn’t “bring them back or deter what had just happened,” Peduto said.
“I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that,” Peduto said, adding that the whole conversation only lasted about three minutes.
Peduto did not meet with Trump when he visited the synagogue or when he spoke to the surviving victims of the shooting in the hospital. The mayor told Trump to delay his visit so it didn’t distract from the victims’ funerals. When Trump arrived in Pittsburgh, hundreds of protesters marched to greet him.
“It could have been avoided,” Peduto told the Post. “He could have chosen to go to the Holocaust Museum and lay a wreath with his wife. Or put together a fund in order to memorialize the 11 people whose lives were lost for perpetuity, in the museum.”
Trump has focused on finding solutions to increased gun violence in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting. He told reporters last week that “wackos” like the Tree of Life gunman should face harsh sentences.
“Anyone who does a thing like this to innocent people … they should really pay the ultimate price,” he said.