President Donald Trump is not currently scheduled to meet with the family of Jacob Blake while visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, after demonstrations were sparked in the city in August when Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back by a White police officer seven times.
Asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins whether the President plans to meet with Blake’s family while in Wisconsin, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “Currently the plans are to meet with local law enforcement and some business owners, and he’ll survey the damage. But there will be more detailed plans forthcoming when they’re announced.”
Following up, asked if there are currently no plans to meet with Blake’s family, McEnany added, “Not currently.”
Trump’s visit to the swing state to condemn violence during the demonstrations marks the latest apparent attempt to continue his campaign against Democrat-run cities and states.
Polls showed that Trump’s numbers tumbled after George Floyd’s death in May and the unrest that followed. So now, in the wake of another shooting of a Black man by police, it seems the President’s strategy to respond has shifted.
Throughout the Republican National Convention last week, Trump’s supporters and the President himself warned of a Democratic-run America turning cities across the country into hotbeds of violence, rioting and looting.
And in Kenosha, Trump will use the city as a backdrop to make that case a couple of months before the election.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has asked Trump to not visit Kenosha as the city works to heal and to prevent diverting local resources for a presidential visit.
“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 said in a letter to Trump.
Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden charged that Trump wants to foment additional violence.
“Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?” Biden asked repeatedly throughout a speech in Pennsylvania.
Trump is “supposed to be protecting this country. But instead he’s rooting for chaos and violence,” and is “trying to scare America,” Biden said.
Comparing to hurricane visits
Asked about the President’s motivations for visiting Kenosha, McEnany suggested the situation was akin to Trump’s recent visits to survey hurricane damage.
“First, the President wants to visit hurting Americans. He shows up, just like he showed up in Louisiana and Texas in response to Hurricane Laura,” McEnany said.
Trump has also refused to fully weigh in on the situation involving Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old charged with killing two protesters and injuring another in Kenosha.
Asked why the President liked a tweet saying Rittenhouse was a “good example” of why a Twitter user had decided to vote for Trump, McEnany said the President had told her “he just wanted to bring some attention to some of the details that aren’t as well known in that case. That the individual was being attacked and that one of the individuals who arrived on the scene did have a gun.”
However, McEnany added that the President condemns violence in all its forms.
But asked if the White House believes that citizens should stop showing up in cities, especially ones they don’t live in, with weapons to protect buildings, McEnany didn’t directly answer.
“This White House believes our police should be fully funded,” she responded. “We should have more police rather than less, we shouldn’t criticize our police because it is our police officers who are responsible for taking to the streets and protecting us.”