Trump says he isn’t meeting with Blake family because they wanted ‘lawyers involved’

President Trump said Monday that he is not planning to meet with members of Jacob Blake’s family while in Kenosha, Wis., because they wanted to have “lawyers involved,” which he called “inappropriate.”

“I spoke with the pastor, wonderful man, the family’s pastor. I thought it would be better not to do anything where there are lawyers involved,” Trump told reporters Monday when asked why he wasn’t planning to meet with the Blake family during his trip to Wisconsin on Tuesday.

“They wanted me to speak, but they wanted to have lawyers involved, and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that,” Trump continued. “I may at some point do that, but they did have a lawyer that wanted to be on the phone, and I said, ‘No, that’s inappropriate,’ but I just gave my best regards.”

In a statement, Ben Crump and other members of Blake’s legal team said that Trump reached out to the pastor of Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, in order to set up a phone conversation with her and that the pastor directed the White House to get in touch with the legal team.

“He appropriately referred the White House to the legal team, but, as President Trump acknowledged during his televised briefing, he declined to have a call if Ms. Jackson’s legal team monitored the call,” the lawyers said.

“The family’s primary objectives are to support Jacob’s recovery and to ensure justice for him. If the call had occurred, Ms. Jackson was prepared to ask President Trump to watch the video of Mr. Blake’s shooting and to do what she has asked all of America to do — examine your heart,” they continued.

Crump noted on MSNBC earlier Monday that he helped arrange a phone call with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), last week.

On Tuesday, Trump will visit Kenosha, which has been the site of protests and in some cases violence since last week after Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back seven times by a police officer. Blake is currently in critical condition in the hospital. The Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News earlier Monday that the administration has been “efforting outreach” to the Blake family but hadn’t been able to connect. Chief of staff Mark Meadows left messages with the Blake family and has been speaking with the family’s pastor, his office said.

Trump is expected to meet with law enforcement and survey damage from violence in Kenosha on Tuesday. His visit comes as Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) recommended he not make the trip, saying it could further inflame tensions.

Trump shrugged off those concerns on Monday, telling reporters that his visit “could also increase enthusiasm, and it could also increase love and respect for our country.” 

—Updated at 8:45 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Mark Meadows Tony Evers

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