Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said President Trump’s presence in his state may prevent healing from a wave of civil unrest.
In a letter made public Sunday, Evers pleaded with Trump to reconsider a planned trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday. Among his reasons, the Democratic governor said the visit may worsen social divisions and require massive security resources that should be focused on protecting Kenosha citizens.
“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state. 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,” Evers wrote.
“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. 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,” the governor continued.
Trump is scheduled to visit Kenosha to meet with law enforcement and survey the damage done during more than a week of protests and riots.
Despite the letter from Evers, Trump said in a tweet Monday morning that he still planned to go to the city.
“If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now. Also, there would have been great death and injury. I want to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard. I will see you on Tuesday!” the president said.
If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now. Also, there would have been great death and injury. I want to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard. I will see you on Tuesday!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2020
During a Fox and Friends interview on Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president has not been in contact with the family of Jacob Blake, whose shooting by police earlier this month prompted the unrest. “We are efforting outreach, have not been able to connect yet,” she said, adding that the White House will provide an update once there is information to share.
Protests and violence that broke out in Kenosha, a Wisconsin city of roughly 100,000 residents, began after video emerged of Blake being shot several times by police while going into his car during an arrest. The unrest reached a crescendo Tuesday night when two people were fatally shot and another was injured. The alleged gunman, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, has been charged in the shooting. His lawyers claim he was acting in self-defense.
Wisconsin authorities are investigating the police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old black man, and the FBI is conducting a civil rights inquiry. Blake told officers he had a knife in his car, which was beneath the floorboards on the driver’s side of his vehicle. His three children were in the car at the time of the shooting. Blake’s family says he is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the shooting for multiple crimes, including third-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor for trespassing, and disorderly conduct. The charges are still pending.
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