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Biden never visited Tree of Life after shooting; White House clarifies president’s comment

PITTSBURGH — President Joe Biden said during a virtual event with leaders in the Jewish community Thursday that he visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill following the murder of 11 people during a service in 2018. Synagogue officials responded that he has never visited.

According to the New York Post, Biden made the comments during a 16-minute virtual address ahead of several Jewish holidays.

>>READ MORE: Remembering the 11 people killed at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

The synagogue’s executive director told the publication that he has not visited in the nearly three years since the deadly attack.

A White House representative said Biden was referring to a phone call he had with the Tree of Life’s rabbi in 2019.

Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers, of Tree of Life, confirmed the call in the following statement:

“President Biden kindly called me on my cell phone as I was sitting in Dulles Airport awaiting a return flight to Pittsburgh after I testified before Congress in July 2019. In a heartfelt way, he extended his condolences and asked how we were doing. We spoke about the challenges of antisemitism, and he made clear he would confront it with us as president. The conversation meant a great deal to me, and I will always be grateful for his kind words and continued support of our community.”

Eleven people were killed at Tree of Life when a man walked in and started shooting on Oct. 27, 2018. Six other people, including two police officers and two SWAT officers, were hurt during the incident.

Former President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin visited in the days following the mass shooting.