President Trump is set to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, despite objections from local leaders who have raised concerns that the president’s appearance may further escalate tensions in the city, which has been roiled by the shooting of a Black man by police and the deaths of two people by a suspected vigilante shooter at a subsequent demonstration.
Mr. Trump is not scheduled to meet with the family of paralyzed from his injuries, his family lawyers have said. The president claimed on Monday that he is not visiting Blake’s family because they wanted to involve their legal team, which he said was “inappropriate.”, the man shot in the back seven times by a Wisconsin police officer on August 23. The 29-year-old father of six remains hospitalized and is
“I may at some point do that, but they did have a lawyer that wanted to be on the phone and I said no. That’s inappropriate, but I did just give my best regards,” Mr. Trump told reporters.
Instead, the president plans to survey property damaged in the protests and visit an “emergency operations center” at a local high school, according to the White House.
In an interview with Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham that aired Monday evening, Mr. Trump compared police officers shooting people in custody to golfers who “miss a three-foot putt.”
“They choke. Just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot putt,” Mr. Trump said.
The president also told Ingraham that he was heading to Kenosha to defend and thank the police and see the buildings damaged by protests that have turned violent.
“You also have bad police, but you also, the vast, not only the vast majority, thousands and thousands of great acts and one bad one and you make the evening news for weeks,” Mr. Trump said. The president is also expected to participate in a roundtable on community safety while in Kenosha.
The president on Monday declined to denounce, the 17-year-old White gunman charged with killing two people last week during a tumultuous night of protests. Mr. Trump to reporters that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense, and “probably would have been killed” had he not fatally shot two protesters. When asked if he agreed with armed vigilantes taking to the streets, Mr. Trump said he would “like to see law enforcement take care of everything.”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, asked Mr. Trump to “reconsider” his visit to Kenoshaon Sunday.
“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state,” Evers wrote. “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, also a Democrat, told CNN on Monday that Mr. Trump’s visit comes at “the wrong time.”
“Our community has gone through a great deal and there is no time right now for politics to be played. We would prefer the President had waited at least another week or so before coming to visit,” Antaramian said.
Wisconsin, which Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016, is also a critical swing state in the upcoming election. Ain August showed Joe Biden leading in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Biden delivered a speech on Monday condemning the violence across American cities and blaming Mr. Trump for fanning the flames.
“Fires are burning and we have a president who fans the flames, rather than fighting the flames,” Biden said. “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?