TRUMP TALKS RE­BUILD­ING, RI­OTS, BUT AVOIDS RACISM

In Kenosha, pres­i­dent says lit­tle about po­lice shoot­ing that sparked vi­o­lence but pledges help for dam­aged busi­nesses, sup­port for cops

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY RACHEL HIN­TON, PO­LIT­I­CAL RE­PORTER rhin­ton@suntimes.com | @rrhin­ton

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 an­tipo­lice 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

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 three­foot 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.

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 re­elected?” Bi­den asked.

“WE DON’T HAVE ANY WORDS FOR THE ORANGE MAN

IN THE WHITE HOUSE. KEEP YOUR DIS­RE­SPECT AND FOUL LAN­GUAGE AWAY FROM OUR FAM­ILY.” JUSTIN BLAKE, the un­cle of Ja­cob Blake

EVAN VUCCI/AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tours an area Tues­day that was dam­aged af­ter protests against the po­lice shoot­ing of Ja­cob Blake in Kenosha, Wis­con­sin, turned vi­o­lent.

ASH­LEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s mo­tor­cade trav­els through Kenosha on Tues­day.

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