White House says Trump hasn’t spoken to Blake family yet
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that President Trump has not yet spoken to members of Jacob Blake’s family, despite the administration attempting to reach out to them.
McEnany said on “Fox & Friends” that Trump is not currently planning to meet with Blake’s family during a trip to Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday but said that the White House holds the Blake family “close to our hearts.”
“We are efforting outreach, have not been able to connect yet. So tomorrow the plan is so far to go and to meet with law enforcement and to look at the damage from the riots, but we are holding his family close to our hearts,” McEnany said, adding that she would offer any further updates if she has them.
Meanwhile, Ben Crump, an attorney for Jacob Blake, said on MSNBC that he had not received any calls from the White House about setting up a meeting between the family and Trump.
“My office has received no calls to set up any kind of meeting,” Crump said when asked about the status of a potential conversation between Trump and the family.
Crump said that, when Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), his running mate, wanted to speak to the family last week, they “simply called my office and we coordinated such a meeting.”
An aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows later tweeted that Meadows has reached out on Trump’s behalf and left “multiple messages” with the Blake family last week in addition to speaking on several occasions with the family’s pastor.
Mr. Crump may be misinformed, but this is false. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has reached out on behalf of POTUS and left multiple messages with the family since last week. He’s also spoken several times with Julia Jackson’s pastor, as recently as this morning. https://t.co/LHIvvN8URA
— Ben Williamson (@_WilliamsonBen) August 31, 2020
Kenosha has been the site of protests since last week, when video emerged showing a police officer shooting Blake, a Black man, in the back as he got into a car. Blake is currently in critical condition in the hospital. The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting, and state officials are also investigating the incident.
Trump has not commented extensively on the Blake shooting but told a local news outlet that the video disturbed him when asked Friday evening in New Hampshire whether he believed the officer who shot Blake should face criminal charges.
“I’m looking into it very strongly. I’ll be getting reports and I’ll certainly let you know pretty soon,” Trump told WMUR. “It was not a good sight. I didn’t like the sight of it, certainly, and I think most people would agree with that.”
The protests in Kenosha have been accompanied by violence, which Trump and Vice President Pence decried in their remarks at the Republican National Convention last week without mentioning the shooting of Blake specifically.
Trump said over the weekend that he planned to visit Kenosha. However, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has urged Trump reconsider the trip, expressing concerns that the visit could incite further division.
“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 in a letter Sunday.
McEnany shrugged off Evers’s plea on Monday, saying that the trip would go on as planned and that Trump wants to unify the state.
“This president will go to Kenosha, Wis. He loves the people of Wisconsin and he looks forward to speaking directly to them and unifying the state,” McEnany said on Fox.
McEnany insisted that federal agents had helped calm the violence in Kenosha. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would send federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Wisconsin. Evers at that time had already activated the National Guard and said he had planned to increase its presence.
“You saw federal help come into that area and we did see a noticeable difference when they came in,” McEnany said. “This president is always willing to help and he’s going to show up and he’ll be there tomorrow.”
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