Vice President Mike Pence condemns anti-Semitism in visit to damaged cemetery
Vandals toppled nearly 200 headstones at cemetery in a St. Louis suburb
Vice President Mike Pence and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday added their voices – and cleanup skills – to those condemning the vandalizing of a Jewish cemetery in a St. Louis suburb.
The two men visited the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in University City, where at least 170 headstones were toppled and damaged. Greitens said President Donald Trump called him Wednesday morning to thank the people of Missouri “for standing up in the fight against anti-Semitism.”
Pence thanked residents for their efforts to restore the toppled headstones and said, “There is no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or anti-Semitism.”
After Pence and Greitens concluded their remarks, they prayed with others at the scene, then Pence picked up a rake and helped in the cleanup.
A fundraiser for the cemetery is sending a strong message of unity and tolerance.
The effort, organized by Muslim American activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi, was launched this week to fund the repairs of the toppled headstones.
The fundraiser exceeded its goal of $20,000 so fast it has expanded into an effort to support Jewish community centers that have been targets of anti-Semitism.
Members of the community have been left rattled.
“A lot of people are coming out (to the cemetery) – they’re just interested to see, ‘Was their loved one’s monument affected by this?’ ” Phillip Weiss, owner of a monument company helping the cemetery lift the downed stones, told CNN affiliate KTVI on Tuesday.
This year alone, 54 Jewish community centers in 27 states and one Canadian province received dozens of bomb threats, according to the Jewish Community Center Association.
“All bomb threats this year proved to be hoaxes, and all JCCs impacted have returned to regular operations,” the association said.
Sarsour of MPower Change and El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy organized the crowdfunding campaign to support the vandalized cemetery.
President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trump claim to world leaders met with laughter
How Trump's tweet sparked #WhyIDidntReport
President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking to law enforcement officials on the street gang MS-13, Friday, July 28, 2017, in Brentwood, N.Y.
Trump's I'm-joking-but-not-really strategy
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to members of the White House Press Corps prior to his Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House December 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Trump often says he's 'the least racist person'
Trump on Manafort: I feel sad about that
Trump on Cordray: He was groomed by 'Pocahontas'
Baldwin: This face behind Trump startled me
Trump responds to op-ed: 'Gutless'
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Why Woodward's book matters
Dean: Trump acts 'frighteningly dictatorial'
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. After two and a half years of negotiations, Iran agreed in 2015 to end its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries, including the United States, lifting decades of economic sanctions. Since then international inspectors have not found any violations of the terms by Iran. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Woodward book reveals 'crazytown' White House
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Trump's latest Twitter tirade lashes at media
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump waits to speak during a memorial service at the Pentagon for the 9/11 terrorist attacks September 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump warns of violence if GOP loses midterms
Photo Illustration: Getty Images/CNN Business
Trump: Impeach somebody who's done great job?
Trump on Sessions: What kind of man is this?