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President Donald Trump will visit Kenosha this week, following the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha cops earlier this month and subsequent killing of two protesters last week by a 17-year-old right-wing vigilante—even as the state’s governor and other local officials beg him to stay away.
The White House announced on Saturday evening that Trump would visit Kenosha to meet with local police and “survey some of the damage” from last week’s protest, CNN reported. Earlier, Trump was asked by reporters as he toured Hurricane Laura damage in Texas if he was going to visit Kenosha and responded, “Probably so.”
Though there was civil unrest in Kenosha in the days immediately following Blake’s shooting, protests have generally been peaceful in the Wisconsin city since Rittenhouse allegedly shot three people, killing two of them. Kenosha police said Sunday that since last Monday, they’ve seized more than 20 firearms and arrested 175 people, with more than half of those arrested charged with violating the city’s curfew.
Evers decried Trump’s visit in a letter to him, essentially begging the president not to come. “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing,” Evers wrote in a letter obtained by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
“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 added. “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.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian echoed Evers’ remarks in an interview with NPR on Sunday, albeit in a more diplomatic fashion. "Our preference would have been for him not to be coming at this point in time," Antaramian told NPR. "All presidents are always welcome and campaign issues are always going on. But it would have been better had he waited to have for another time to come."
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who in 2018 became just the second Black person elected to statewide office in Wisconsin, tweeted on Sunday that if Trump is “not coming to recognize the celebration of community that’s going on right now, then keep it.”
Unsurprisingly, the White House said Sunday that Trump is still going. "The White House has been humbled by the outreach of individuals from Kenosha who have welcomed the President's visit and are longing for leadership to support local law enforcement and businesses that have been vandalized," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told CNN. Deere did not say who those individuals are.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will speak in Pittsburgh on Monday, asking “whether voters feel safe in Donald Trump’s America and offer a different vision for a better future in Joe Biden's America,” his campaign said. On Sunday, Biden denounced the shooting death of a Trump supporter affiliated with the far-right group Patriot Prayer as a Trump car caravan gathered indrove through Portland on Saturday.
“I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right,” Biden said in a statement. “And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same. It does not matter if you find the political views of your opponents abhorrent, any loss of life is a tragedy.”
Cover: President Donald Trump talks to reporters aboard Air Force One after a campaign rally, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)