THE NEUTRAL ZONE
President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wis., Tuesday despite urging from local officials to reconsider. He was accompanied by Attorney General Bill Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. President Trump referred to recent violence in the city as “domestic terror” and “anti-American.” He did not mention Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by officer Rusten Sheskey on August 23.
At a roundtable following a tour of damaged local business, President Trump emphasized that federal law enforcement was ready and willing to come to numerous cities, including Portland. He said that $1 million would be available for Kenosha law enforcement, $4 million for small businesses affected by recent unrest, and $42 million for statewide public safety. Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, thanked President Trump for his visit and for the funding assistance for the coming “period of rebuilding.”
In the Q&A session following the roundtable, a reporter asked whether the president believes systemic racism is a “problem in this country.” President Trump refused to answer and criticized the media for not talking more about the violent acts of “very bad people.” He said that the people not protesting “want to see law and order.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday accused President Trump of inflaming racial tensions, alleging that he “sows chaos rather than providing order.” Biden’s Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said Tuesday that Trump’s trip to Kenosha featured only “self-centered divisiveness accompanied by zero solutions.”
Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said his family would not focus on the president and instead of bringing the community together. “He wishes we would and we’re not. We’re here to heal Kenosha and push forward our agenda.” The family hosted a block party Tuesday during President Trump’s visit and Blake told the crowd to remain peaceful.
MAGA Fans Back Teen Vigilante During Eerie Trump Visit to Kenosha – The Daily Beast – 9/1/2020
The president went on to claim that the people of Kenosha were not asking for structural change following the shooting and possible paralysis of Jacob Blake at the hands of police, but were instead asking for “law and order.” The reality, of course, was very different in a city that has long struggled with allegations of corrupt policing, and where sentiment about Trump was bitterly divided.
‘It’s Almost as though They Don’t Want It to End’: Trump Contrasts Restoration of Order in Kenosha with Prolonged Rioting in Other Cities – National Review – 9/1/2020
“I really came today to thank law enforcement. What you’ve done has been incredible. It’s really inspiring because you see [demonstrations] happening all over and it just never seems to end,” Trump said. “And it never seems to end because, it’s almost as though they don’t want it to end. Because you ended it really fast.”
Jacob Blake’s Family Organizes Block Party During Trump’s Kenosha Visit – Complex – 9/1/2020
Trump’s visit has, of course, been met with criticism, as many believe his presence could spur further unrest within the region which has experienced riots, looting, and death within the past week. But rather than allow Trump to fan the flame, Blake’s family organized an event that aims to celebrate and heal the Kenosha community.
Trump Visits Sites Of Riots In Kenosha, Urges Portland To Call For National Guard – The Daily Caller – 9/1/2020
Trump visited the city alongside Attorney General Bill Barr and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and held a roundtable meeting on the city’s status. Local officials including Kenosha Sheriff David Beth, Police chief Daniel Miskinis, and local African-American Pastors James and Sharon Ward also attended, thanking Trump for his help in returning peace to the streets and offering advice on how to solve nationwide unrest for the long term.