During a 16-minute virtual address to Jewish leaders during the official White House High Holy Days online call, President Biden claimed to have visited the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the October 2018 mass murder of 11 people there. But the NY Post spoke to members of the synagogue and they all said, “Nope, never happened!”
“I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” Biden said in the video address.
Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, told the Post in a phone interview that Biden has not visited the synagogue in the nearly three years since the anti-Semitic attack.
The Post noted that President Trump paid a visit to the synagogue three days after the attack. Trump was accompanied by Jewish members of his administration, including his Jewish daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner and JewishTreasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
The attack on October 27, 2018 was the worst anti-Jewish hate crime in US history, killing 11 and wounding six. The killer was believed to have been motivated by white supremacist ideologies and was an outspoken and ardent critic of President Trump on his social media for supposedly being surrounded by and controlled by Jews.
President Biden’s address was confused at several points. He began by saying, “When I was Vice President, for eight years I had a celebration at my home — my temporary home of the Vice President’s Residence — and I had planned on doing that here at the White House but for COVID. So, next year, I hope. Next year. Not only next year in Jerusalem but next year at the White House, God willing.”
It should be noted that the declaration, “Next year in Jerusalem” is traditionally said at the end of the Passover seder and has no relevance to the upcoming Jewish High Holidays.
At one point, Biden mentioned that in his recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, the Israeli PM remarked, “You’ve met every single prime minister and you’ve known them since Golda Meir,” a meeting which Biden remembered fondly. In the address, Biden claims the meeting was after the 1967 Six-Day-War. The meeting was, in fact, 7 years after that war.In December, Israeli media reported that at that meeting in 1973, Biden assured PM Meir that in his recent visit to Egypt, he had personally witnessed that Egypt was not preparing for hostilities against Israel. 40 days later, Egypt attacked Israel. Biden did not include this aspect of the meeting with Golda Meir in his address to the Jewish leaders.
In his address, Biden went on to express his pride in being a practicing Catholic to the Jewish audience. In what many would consider a racist stereotype, Biden added that his daughter, Ashely Biden, Biden married a Jewish surgeon, Howard Krein, saying, “You know, it’s the dream of every Catholic father that she married a Jewish doctor.”
At that point, President Biden began to go foggy on the details of the wedding that took place in 2012.
“We wanted to have a co-confessional wedding,” Biden said. “And we had a chuppah on the altar, and we had a co- … it was co-officiated,” Biden said. “Now, some of you aren’t going to like this, but it was co-officiated by a Catholic priest as well as a Jewish rabbi.”
Though a rabbi did co-officiate at the wedding, it was held in St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church, in Greenville, Delaware.
The speech was rambling and incoherent, with the president veering off at the end to talk about his fondness for Irish poets while making an unclear reference to a “Rabbi Person.”