State Watch

Kenosha mayor prefers Trump not visit ‘at this point in time’

The mayor of Kenosha, Wis., said Sunday that he prefers President Trump not visit “at this point in time.” 

The president is scheduled to visit the city on Tuesday to survey the damage from protests and clashes.

“Realistically, from our perspective, our preference would have been for him not to be coming at this point in time,” Mayor John Antaramian (D) told NPR’s “Weekend Edition.” 

Kenosha has experienced a week of protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

“All presidents are always welcome and campaign issues are always going on. But it would have been, I think, better had he waited to have for another time to come,” Antaramian added. 

The Democratic mayor told NPR that the situation in Kenosha was “not the situation, I think, that people perceive — that the people in Kenosha are rioting.” He said people are “protesting and absolutely have every right to protest” and that the city backs peaceful protests but not “damage and destruction.”

“Peaceful protests are not a problem,” Antaramian said. “Our biggest problem really did come from people coming from outside the area and causing a great deal of damage and destruction.”

A White House spokesperson told reporters Saturday that Trump intends to visit Kenosha on Tuesday and “meet with law enforcement and survey damage from recent riots.”

White House spokesperson Judd Deere told The Hill in a statement on Monday that the White House was “humbled by the outreach” of those in Kenosha “who have welcomed the President’s visit and are longing for leadership to support local law enforcement and businesses that have been vandalized.”

“President Trump looks forward to visiting on Tuesday and helping this great city heal and rebuild,” he said.

The president’s visit would come after a video circulated last week showing police shooting Blake seven times in the back as he opened the door to his SUV, which had his children inside. The video sparked nightly protests in Kenosha. They have been mostly peaceful, but there have been instances of looting, fires and violence.

On Tuesday night, three Black Lives Matter protesters were shot, with two of them being killed. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, from Illinois has been arrested and faces multiple homicide charges. 

The president has promoted a law and order reaction toward the protests in Kenosha and elsewhere, calling on local and state officials to regain control of their streets or request federal authorities to come help. 

Several Democrats have criticized Trump’s scheduled visit, with Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes telling CNN on Sunday that Wisconsin doesn’t need the president to come. 

“I don’t know how given any of the previous statements that the president made, that he intends to come here to be helpful, and we absolutely don’t need that right now,” Barnes said.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) also told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that the president’s “only” purpose in visiting Kenosha is “to agitate things and make things [worse.]”

The Blake protests come after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody sparked international protests over police brutality. 

Tags demonstrations Donald Trump Jacob Blake protests Karen Bass kenosha Kenosha protests police shooting Protests Wisconsin

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