Vice President Mike Pence decided the best way to honor the elderly Jewish members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh massacred by a white terrorist was to pray with a man whose sole aim is to convert Jews to Christianity. Reported the Washington Post:
Two days after the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, Vice President Pence bowed his head at a rally on Monday in Michigan as a religious leader who casts himself as a “rabbi” offered a prayer for the victims in Pittsburgh.
But the man who shared a stage with Pence, Loren Jacobs, preaches Messianic Judaism, a tradition central to Jews for Jesus, a group condemned by Jewish leaders as faux Judaism that seeks to promote Christian evangelism. The major Jewish denominations join the state of Israel in viewing followers of Messianic Judaism as Christian, not Jewish.
His appearance drew outrage on social media. Jason A. Miller, a Detroit-area rabbi, wrote on Facebook that more than 60 rabbis appeared in a directory of the Michigan Board of Rabbis — “and yet the only rabbi they could find to offer a prayer for the 11 Jewish victims in Pittsburgh at the Mike Pence Rally was a local Jew for Jesus rabbi?”
It is hard to imagine that the tone deafness of the current administration could go beyond Donald Trump's astonishing narcissism in the wake of national tragedies. But now we have Mike Pence doing his best to let non-WASP Americans know he really doesn't care about them.
The Washington Post spoke to Pence aide who claimed the VP was apparently not responsible for inviting Jacobs to the event:
Jacobs had been invited by Lena Epstein, a Republican congressional candidate to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, and said Pence did not know who the religious leader was when he brought him on stage “to deliver a message of unity.”
Pence is an experienced politician, so this is highly unlikely that he did not know who was going to be speaking at the rally he was attending. If he genuinely didn't know who he was going to be appearing on stage with, then he should fire all of his aides for gross negligence.
The most likely explanation is that Pence knew exactly who the "Rabbi" was and didn't think anything of it. Because to him, Jews for Jesus are redeemed sinners saved by the blond haired Jesus he prays to. Either way, the effect was to gravely offend a community that has just suffered a horrific loss and prove to America yet again that the Trump administration is irredeemably incompetent.