Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said Thursday he's being criticized for speaking with President Donald Trump earlier this week, but he said when they spoke, he saw a side of the president that few Americans see.
"I was surprised by a warm and personal side to the president that I don't think America has ever seen," Myers, who was leading services at the synagogue Saturday when a gunman opened fire on worshippers, told CNN's "New Day."
"I was privileged to have a private 15 or 20 minutes with the family. The president was very warm, very consoling. He put his hand on my shoulder and the first question he asked me, he said, 'rabbi, tell me how are you doing?'"
Myers said he told the story of his own experience to Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, as well as to daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, "which they found quite shocking and upsetting."
The rabbi told CNN Trump listened to his concerns about rhetoric, but meanwhile, he does not blame the shootings on the president or anyone else. He also said he's been getting hate mail over meeting with Trump.
"I think it's a national issue," said the rabbi. "I have been getting hate mail. What they don't get is that their language is equally hateful."
Meanwhile, members of Pittsburgh's Muslim community have raised nearly $224,000 for the synagogue, and Myers said that is "overwhelming."
"I met the Imam," said Myers. "He and I had never met before, we were strangers. The goodness and warmth out of him is remarkable and it speaks loudly to all people around the world that love can defeat hate."
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