Rebuffing objections from Gov. Tony Evers, President Donald Trump still plans to travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday in the midst of turmoil after the police shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this month.
The president, who has been an outspoken critic of the handling of similar unrest in Portland, conceded that he was aware that Evers “did not want us there,” but said that he hoped his presence would help to inspire residents.
“It could also increase enthusiasm,” Trump said. “It could increase love and respect for our country. That’s why I am going.
The president also took credit for the seeming easing of tensions that has taken place since the Wisconsin National Guard was activated in the state.
"They (the National Guard) did a fantastic job. As soon as I called and told them ‘let’s go,’ the whole problem stopped.”
An Associated Press fact check disputes the president's statements, pointing out that he routinely takes credit for National Guard deployments within states.
"That is a distortion," the fact-check found. "Trump omits the fact that he is largely a bystander in National Guard deployments. While presidents can tap rarely used powers to use federal officers for local law enforcement, there is no National Guard with national reach for Trump to send around the country."
Over the weekend, Evers raised objections to the idea of the president visiting Kenosha, asking him in a letter to reconsider his plans.
“It is our job as elected officials to lead by example and to be a calming presence for the people we know are hurting, mourning and trying to cope with trauma,” Evers said. “Now is not the time for divisiveness. Now is not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state instigators who want to contribute to our anguish.”
Evers also expressed concern about diverting law enforcement resources to help provide protection and logistical support for the president.
“I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together,” Evers said.
Trump is expected to view damage caused by recent unrest in the city, and also hopes to meet with local law enforcement officials to discuss strategies to curb violence.