US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled on Tuesday to travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 11 people were killed in an attack on a Jewish synagogue.
Trump said he and his wife would pay their respects to the victims, who were gunned down on Saturday during a service at the synagogue, and support the wounded, including police officers who are still in hospital.
“I would have done it even sooner, but I didn’t want to disrupt any more than they already had disruption,” he said in an interview late Monday on Fox News.
Trump and his wife are due to arrive in Pittsburgh shortly before 4 pm (2000 GMT) and stay about four hours. The visit will coincide with two funerals, the first since the killings.
The visit has met with criticism in the city, with some local leaders and residents questioning the motive and timing. It comes just one week ahead of US midterm elections.
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, a Democrat, warned the visit would be a “distraction” and pull focus from the funerals.
“If the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh, I would ask that he not do so while we are burying the dead,” Peduto said.
But others said they welcomed the visit.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was at the synagogue when the shooting took place, told CNN “the president of the United States is always welcome.”
Trump has also faced criticism for continuing his campaign schedule and for using rhetoric during the rallies that critics say incites hatred in society.
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