Trump blasts 'Democrat-run cities' as he leaves for Kenosha

Trump blasts 'Democrat-run cities' as he leaves for Kenosha
© MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE criticized Democratic leaders and asserted that his visit to Kenosha, Wis., would help mend racial divisions as he left for a trip to the city on Tuesday.

Trump criticized the recent unrest in Portland, Ore., and took credit for the ease in violence in Kenosha after the state’s Democratic governor called up the National Guard.

“I think a lot of people are looking what is happening to these Democrat-run cities and they are disgusted,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews shortly before departing the Washington, D.C., area on Tuesday.

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“One of the reasons I am making the trip today in going to Wisconsin is we have had such a big success in shutting down what would be right now … a city that would have been burned to the ground right now,” Trump said. 

Trump said his trip to Kenosha Tuesday afternoon would focus on thanking law enforcement officials and the National Guard. Asked about current racial tensions, Trump said he believed his visit would help ease the divide.

“I think it’s helping because I’m about law and order,” Trump said, adding that African American and Hispanic communities value police presence to stop crime.

“They don’t want crime. They don’t want to be mugged. They don’t want any problems,” Trump said, before blaming the Obama administration for what he described as unrest and racial divisions in cities like Baltimore and St. Louis. 

“Take a look at Baltimore,” Trump said, citing the 2015 death of Freddy Gray in police custody. “Take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at Ferguson, [Mo.]. Take a look at what happened.”

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Trump claimed that Portland has been grappling with unrest “for 50 years” and insisted he could “stop it quickly” if Democratic state leaders requested federal assistance. Trump appeared to malign Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), calling him a “fool” over protests that occurred outside his house.

“I saw last night where these radical anarchists were trying to get into the mayor’s house and lots of bad things were happening to this poor, foolish, very stupid mayor. How he can be mayor I have no idea. All he has to do is call and within ten minutes their problem will be over,” Trump said, without identifying Wheeler. “They have to call and request help.”

The president also blamed the news media for “fueling” recent unrest.

“I think the media is what’s fueling this, more so than even Biden because Biden doesn’t know he’s alive,” Trump said, referring to Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' MORE. “The press is really fueling this.”

Trump’s remarks came after Biden excoriated the president in a speech in Pittsburgh on Monday over his handling of the recent unrest, accusing Trump of fomenting the violence.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversPoll worker fired for not wearing a mask sues Wisconsin governor Coronavirus lockdowns work Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters MORE (D) had urged Trump not to visit Kenosha, expressing concerns that the president could exacerbate current tensions in the city and prevent healing.

Trump is slated to tour damage from recent violence that has accompanied protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the latest instance of police violence against an African American that has spurred racial justice demonstrations. Trump will also participate in a roundtable discussion on community safety. 

The president told reporters Tuesday that he wasn’t sure if he would meet with Blake’s family but reiterated that he spoke with a pastor for Blake’s mother. Trump told reporters on Monday that he wasn’t planning to meet with Blake’s family members because they wanted “lawyers involved” in the conversation, which he called “inappropriate.”

Trump, opting to focus on the violent elements of demonstrations, has barely commented on Blake’s shooting, aside from telling a local outlet in New Hampshire that he was bothered by the video of his shooting during an interview last week. 

“I’m looking into it very strongly. I’ll be getting reports and I’ll certainly let you know pretty soon,” Trump told WMUR when asked if the officer who shot Blake should face charges. “It was not a good sight. I didn’t like the sight of it, certainly, and I think most people would agree with that.” 

Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer last week, and video of the incident quickly spread on social media, sparking outrage. Blake is currently fighting for his life in the hospital following his injuries. The Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.