President Donald Trump will forge ahead with his visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, even though local officials have urged him not to. On Twitter, Trump wrote that he would be visiting Kenosha to thank law enforcement for putting an end to the "violence" in the area. The president's visit will come a little over a week after Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot by a White police officer several times in the back, which resulted in him being paralyzed from the waist down. This shooting prompted protests to erupt in the area, with individuals calling for justice for Blake.
During his trip to Kenosha, Trump will reportedly survey "property affected by recent riots," as USA Today reported. He also plans to visit an emergency operations center and host "a roundtable on Wisconsin Community Safety." The president has no plans to meet with Blake or his family. Before his trip to Kenosha, he spoke to reporters and disputed claims that his visit would exaggerate already fraught tensions in the area. He told reporters that it "could also increase enthusiasm and it could increase love and respect for our country." At the time, Trump also appeared to defend 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who allegedly shot and killed two individuals who were protesting Blake's shooting and injured another. When asked whether he would condemn Rittenhouse's alleged actions, Trump suggested that the teen acted in self-defense and that the protesters were the instigators.
Heading to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard for a job well done. The Violence stopped six days ago, the moment the Guard entered the picture. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2020
While Trump is still planning to visit Kenosha, several Wisconsin officials voiced their concerns over the president's trip. Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian told NPR on Sunday that he would prefer that Trump would not visit "at this point in time." He added that presidents are always "welcome" to visit, "but it would have been, I think, better had he waited to have for another time to come." Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers also wrote a letter to Trump on Sunday in which he urged him not to visit right now.
Evers wrote that last week was "particularly difficult" given the events that occurred in the city. He wrote, "Kenosha and communities across Wisconsin are enduring extraordinary grief, grappling with a Black man being shot seven times and the loss of two additional lives on Tuesday night at the hands of an out-of-state armed militant." Evers wrote to Trump that he is "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."