Vice President Pence visited a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis which had been vandalized earlier in the week. Pence and Governor Greitens stood for a prayer in Hebrew and then spent some time raking leaves and cleaning up the cemetery.
VP Pence and Gov Greitens also pitch in for a few minutes to help clean up the desecrated cemetery. pic.twitter.com/DcGnqfZyXW
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) February 22, 2017
MISSOURI: JUST IN: Vice President Pence makes unannounced visit to pay respect at Jewish Cemetery in STL where headstones were vandalized. pic.twitter.com/AWGmOckjuM
— KolHaolam (@KolHaolam) February 22, 2017
Speaking through a bullhorn to those who had gathered for the clean up effort, Pence expressed his admiration for the care being shown to the Jewish community. “I’m Mike Pence and I’m the Vice President of the United States of America,” Pence said to applause. He continued,” I spoke words earlier today in St. Louis that were from the heart. There is no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice and violence or anti-Semitism.
Pence also thanked Governor Greitens and said, “On behalf of the President of the United States let me just say thank you to all of you for coming out and showing the heart of this state and the heart of this nation in this place. You just make us all proud.”
Earlier at a stop in St. Louis, Pence condemned the threats and vandalism of up to 200 grave markers. From Fox 2 St. Louis:
Monday morning America discovered that nearly 200 tombstones were toppled in a nearby Jewish cemetery. Speaking just yesterday President Trump called this, ‘a horrible and painful act.’ And so it was. That, along with other recent threats to Jewish Community Centers around the country. He declared it all a sad reminder of hate, prejudice and evil.
We condemn this vile act of vandalism and the people who perpetrated it in the strongest possible terms.
The White House put out a statement denouncing the latest wave of bomb threats Monday and Tuesday President Trump came out strongly against anti-Semitism. That was deemed “too little, too late” by the director of the Anne Frank center. I suggested yesterday that responding to the bomb threats and the vandalism more forcefully could make this into a winning issue for Trump, who ran on a law and order platform.
Pence’s visit today was clearly a photo op, but that is part of what politicians do. The point isn’t that he single-handedly restored the cemetery. Most of that work was already done. He went to express his respect for the Jewish community and his appreciation for the people who did do that work to make things right. No doubt critics will continue to say it’s not enough but it certainly seems like a good effort as these things go. Now let’s see an announcement from the FBI about the arrest of those responsible for the bomb threats against buildings full of young children.