TRUTH behind Biden's claim he visited Tree of Life Synagogue after 2018 attack
Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, disputed Biden's claims and said that the POTUS never visited the synagogue
President Joe Biden claim that he visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill following the murder of 11 people in an anti-semitic attack during a service in 2018 has been disputed by the Pittsburgh synagogue.
Biden made the claim on Thursday, September 2, during a 16-minute virtual address ahead of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with leaders in the Jewish community.
“I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” Biden said during his address. In his remark, Biden also praised Pope Francis and shared personal anecdotes about his family's links to Judaism and Israel. “I happen to be a practicing Catholic and one of the things I like about my pope today is that he’s all about renewal and forgiveness… and I hope I’m going to get to see him in the not too distant future,” Biden said.
POTUS' daughter Ashley Biden is married to Jewish surgeon Howard Krein. “My daughter married a Jewish young man. And, you know, it’s the dream of every Catholic father that she married a Jewish doctor,” Biden joked. “We had a chuppah on the altar… Now some of you aren’t gonna like this, but it was co-officiated by a Catholic priest as well as a Jewish rabbi.” He added that although he had simply requested his favorite hymn -- 'On Eagle’s Wings' -- to be played, the ceremony instead started playing 'Hava Nagilah,' which took the president by surprise.
“I only asked one thing… And they played, and my mind is going blank now, what’s the song that is played where everybody is on the chair? I can’t remember it. Anyway, but that’s the song that was played,” Biden recounted. "So you know, I don’t know what the hell’s going on here. I just had one little favor, you know, just that they play ‘On Eagle’s Wings’.”
Tree of Life synagogue says Biden never visited
Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, disputed Biden's claims and said that the POTUS never visited the synagogue in the nearly three years since the massacre. In a phone call with New York Post, Feige firmly said “no” when asked if Biden ever visited. Feige has been associated with the synagogue for a long time. He took on the role of executive director in 2019.
In the deadly attack, 11 people were gunned down during a weekend service after a gunman opened fire at the synagogue. Six other people were injured, including two police officers and two SWAT officers, during the incident. In contrast to Biden, the outlet pointed out that former President Donald Trump visited the Tree of Life three days after the anti-Jewish hate crime took place. At the time, Trump was joined by Jewish members of his administration, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and then Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.