Trump to address unrest in Kenosha during GOP convention address

Trump to address unrest in Kenosha during GOP convention address
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President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE plans to address the unrest in Kenosha, Wis., during his speech accepting the GOP nomination for president Thursday night, according to his campaign.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told reporters that Trump would “talk about the unrest that we have seen in American cities, including Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and other cities.”

Asked later whether Trump would specifically address the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black, Murtaugh declined to get into specifics while reiterating Trump would address the civil unrest in Kenosha and other American cities.

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“He will make reference to Kenosha and he will speak about the issue also in terms of how the reaction cannot be to escalate violence and that we cannot have Americans continue to harm Americans in our streets,” Murtaugh said.

Murtaugh said Trump would also speak about the need for police to be able to do their jobs and express respect and admiration for the work done by the “vast majority” of law enforcement officers.

Large protests have erupted in Kenosha after video emerged of a police officer shooting Blake in the back at close range as he was getting into a car. Police said that they were responding to a domestic disturbance at the time the shooting occurred on Sunday. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the incident and the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

Blake is currently being treated for his injuries in an intensive care unit.

Trump has not spoken publicly about the Blake shooting specifically, but aides said he would be briefed on the matter. Trump has referenced the violence in Wisconsin, saying Wednesday that he would send federal officers to the city to assist in assuaging the unrest.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Trump criticized the NBA after players boycotted playoff games over the Blake shooting, saying the league had become like a "political organization." 

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“I don’t know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA," Trump told reporters during a FEMA hurricane briefing. "They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing.”

The president has been criticized for his response to protests against racial injustice that have erupted across the country in recent months in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Trump has largely focused on the violent aspects of the protests, pledging to restore “law and order” to America’s cities and blaming Democrats for the unrest.

Vice President Pence condemned the violent protests in American cities like Kenosha during his keynote address accepting the nomination for the 2020 GOP presidential ticket on Wednesday.

"Let me be clear: the violence must stop — whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha. Too many heroes have died defending our freedoms to see Americans strike each other down," Pence said at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

The vice president expressed support for the right to peacefully protest, before adding, "We will have law and order on the streets of America for every American of every race, and creed and color."

Pence did not specifically talk about Blake’s shooting.

Updated 3:43 p.m.