President Trump Visits Kenosha Following Unrest Over Police Shooting of Jacob Blake

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President Donald Trump traveled to Kenosha Tuesday in wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which sparked days of unrest in the southeastern Wisconsin city.

Some city officials feared the president's visit would fuel further division, with additional protests planned ahead of his trip, and asked the president to reschedule, but Trump said he planned to move forward despite those concerns, saying he wanted to thank law enforcement and the National Guard.

The president arrived at Waukegan Airport in Illinois just after noon and then continued to Kenosha where he met with local law enforcement, surveyed damaged businesses and participated in a roundtable discussion on public safety with local leaders.

"We're going to be making a couple of stops," Trump said as he landed at Waukegan Airport ahead of the visit Tuesday. "We'll look at some of the damage that was done, we're gonna get it fixed up, we're going to help the people rebuild their businesses in Kenosha."

The president confirmed Monday evening that he didn't have plans to meet with the family of Blake, the 31-year-old Black man who was shot seven times by a police officer, prompting protests and outrage nationwide.

At a press briefing, the president said he talked to the family's pastor and decided not to meet with the family because "they wanted to have lawyers involved, and I thought that was inappropriate."

He called the family's pastor a "fine man" and added he may meet with the family in the future.

Friday's March on Washington, a national call for racial equality and justice, was organized in May after the death of George Floyd. After Jacob Blake was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin by a police officer this week, some of Blake's family traveled to Washington D.C. to speak.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sent a letter to the president Sunday, sharing worries about what his visit would mean for Kenosha and the state.

"I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing," he said. "I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together."

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian also stated he felt the timing was wrong, and voiced similar concerns at a news conference.

"It just seemed to me and I think others that it would be better for us to be able to pull together, let the community get together and actually heal up the process of what's going on..." the mayor said. "So it would have been nice if it had waited a while a little longer down the road."

At a White House press briefing Monday evening, Trump acknowledged Gov. Evers asked him to reconsider the visit, but gave the governor credit for accepting assistance from the National Guard, which he claimed help quell tensions in the city.

"Ultimately he said yes. As soon as he said yes, the problem ended," President Trump said. "But I have to see the people that did such a good job for me...We have tremendous support in the state of Wisconsin."

Trump's opponent for reelection, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have accused Trump of rooting for violence amid unrest in Wisconsin.

"He views this as a political benefit," Biden said in an interview on MSNBC. "He’s rooting for more violence, not less. And it’s clear about that."

However, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed a question on whether President Trump is visiting Kenosha because Wisconsin is a battleground state.

"The president's showing up to see hurting Americans," she stated. "He goes to several states each and every week, and this is another one in a line of many."

On Friday, President Trump broke his silence regarding Blake's shooting, but didn't say whether he believes the officer was justified.

"It was not a good sight," the president told reporters. "I didn’t like the sight of it certainly. And I think most people would agree with that."

While the governor and mayor weren't on board, that's not the case for all local elected officials.

Seven Kenosha County Board supervisors wrote a letter to President Trump, encouraging him to move forward with his visit, the Kenosha News reported.

"Kenoshans are hurting and looking for leadership, and your leadership in this time of crisis is greatly appreciated by those devastated by the violence in Kenosha," the letter read in part.

Some residents told NBC 5 they were uncertain on whether the visit would benefit the city, but others have made up their mind.

"I think it's wonderful," said resident Amanda Kriske. "I think he is listening to the residents of Kenosha."

At the same time as Trump's visit, family members of Jacob Blake held a community gathering at the site of Blake's shooting.

The gathering aimed "to support and celebrate the Kenosha community," according to the family.

The event included a community clean-up, a food drive, a healing circle and a voter registration booth, organizers said.

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