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Trump visits Kenosha — vows to ‘rebuild’ city, denounces ‘anti-police and anti-American riots,’ doesn’t mention racism

“We’re not going to let anyone smudge my nephew’s name,” said Justin Blake. “We don’t have any words for the orange man in the White House.”

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he tours an area affected by civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he tours an area affected by civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump visited Kenosha on Tuesday and promised $5 million for the Wisconsin city’s law enforcement as well as small businesses that were “ravaged by anti-police and anti-American riots” following days of unrest sparked by the shooting of a Black man by police.

“We’re all in this together, and this was an example of what can happen when you do it right,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion on community safety.

Before the president arrived, an uncle of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who was shot by Kenosha police on Aug. 23 and left paralyzed from the waist down, delivered a stern message.

“We don’t have any words for the orange man in the White House,” said Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake. “Keep your disrespect and foul language away from our family.”

Not only did Trump not try to visit Blake or his family, the president pretty much stayed away from the entire topic of the shooting that sparked days of civil unrest.

The president never brought it up during the roundtable discussion on Tuesday, only touching on it at all when reporters asked questions about meeting with the Blake family.

The president said he planned to meet the family’s pastor, saying “he represents the family,” but he would not be meeting with Blake’s relatives.

“I was going to speak to the mother yesterday,” Trump said Tuesday. “I hear she’s a very fine woman. I was going to speak to her. But then I heard there were a lot of lawyers on the phone. I said, ‘I have enough lawyers in my life. I don’t need to get involved with that.’”

Blake’s family says Pastor James E. Ward Jr. doesn’t represent them. Blake’s father confirmed that someone from the White House reached out to set up a call with Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, and the family, but the administration declined when the family said their lawyers would be present on the call.

The president’s Tuesday talk in Kenosha on community safety included Attorney General William Barr, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Bryan Steil, members of the Kenosha police department, the Wisconsin National Guard as well as business owners.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian didn’t attend that discussion. Both had said Trump’s visit was not a good idea.

Trump credited the National Guard with restoring order in Wisconsin and took shots at other cities, including Chicago, saying “Obviously, that’s been a disaster — Chicago — total disaster — with, again, radical-left Democrat.”

The president also defended police officers, saying while there are some “bad apples … you have a quarter of a second to make a decision” and some officers “choke.”

Trump used that same rhetoric on Laura Ingraham’s program on Fox News Monday night, comparing officers who shoot people to golfers who “miss a three-foot putt.”

“They can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do, and one bad apple — or a choker,” Trump said Monday. “But they choke just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot putt — people choke … and people are bad people. You have both. ... You can be a police officer for 15 years and all of a sudden you’re confronted, you’ve got a quarter of a second to make a decision. If you don’t make the decision and you’re wrong then you’re dead. People choke under those circumstances.”

On Tuesday, Trump declared “I’m committed to helping Kenosha rebuild,” and announced his administration will provide $1 million to Kenosha’s law enforcement, nearly $4 million to some of the small businesses he spoke to Tuesday and over $42 million to support public safety statewide, “including direct support for law enforcement” and for “additional prosecutors to punish criminals.”

“Kenosha has been ravaged by anti-police and anti-American riots,” Trump said.

After ignoring calls to reconsider his visit, Trump toured buildings that burned during days of rioting that followed the shooting. The unrest in the city left two protesters dead.

Trump hasn’t denounced Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, who allegedly shot and killed two people during one of the nights of civil unrest.

Trump flew into Waukegan National Airport, and, as the motorcade started along its route, the president was greeted by people bearing signs — some bore his name, some read “Black Lives Matter” and others, like one homemade sign, read “liar.”

During the Republican National Convention last week, Trump put Kenosha on a list of “Democrat-run cities,” including Chicago, that he criticized for their handling of “rioting, looting, arson and violence” over the summer.

Spotlighting the unrest rather than the underlying incidents, and linking the protests and violence to Democrats has become a main talking point during Trump’s campaign against former Vice President Joe Biden.

President Donald Trump, center, with Attorney General William Barr, second from left, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, third from left, during a tour of an area affected by civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin
President Donald Trump, center, with Attorney General William Barr, second from left, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, third from left, during a tour of an area affected by civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

In a speech Monday, Biden sought to place the blame squarely on the president, asking “do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”

“Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?” Biden asked.

Contributing: Mitchell Armentrout, reporting from Kenosha, and Clare Proctor, reporting from Chicago.

President Donald Trump turns around after talking with law enforcement officials Tuesday as he tours an area damaged during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wis.
President Donald Trump turns around after talking with law enforcement officials Tuesday as he tours an area damaged during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wis.
Evan Vucci/AP