01 September 2020
American President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday to show support for law enforcement officials in a city struggling with days of violent protests. The unrest came after a Black man was shot in the back by a white police officer.
The president toured an area damaged by violence and fire. He spoke to shop owners of businesses that were burned. He also accused local officials of permitting the violence.
"They just don't want us to come in and then destruction is done," said Trump. "These governors don't want to call and the mayors don't want to call. They have to ask."
Protests in Kenosha began on August 23, the night of Jacob Blake's shooting. Video captured by a neighbor shows Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer who was trying to make an arrest.
For three nights, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs to break up the demonstration. Protesters set fires and destroyed some businesses. The violence reached a high point on August 25 when Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old, shot and killed two protesters and injured another with a semi-automatic gun.
The Republican president's visit came over the objections of local Democratic leaders. Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers wrote in a letter to Trump, "I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together."
But Trump dismissed their appeals. He said before boarding the presidential airplane, "I think a lot of people are looking at what's happening in these Democrat-run cities and they're disgusted. They see what's going on and they can't believe this is taking place in our country. I can't believe it either. One of the reasons I'm making a trip today and going to Wisconsin is we've had such a big success in shutting down what would be...a city that would have been burned to the ground by now."
Wisconsin is a battleground state. Trump narrowly won the state in the 2016 election. The latest polls, however, show former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party candidate, with a small lead for the upcoming November 3 election.
The trip gives Trump a chance to emphasize his "law and order" message while Biden calls attention to Trump's efforts dealing with the coronavirus health crisis.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, Trump was met by both supporters and protesters who were kept at a distance. He praised law enforcement officers but did not talk about the cause of the unrest. The president also took credit for sending in the National Guard to keep the peace. Governor Tony Evers called for U.S. National Guard troops.
When asked by reporters if he had a message for Jacob Blake's family, Trump said, "I feel terribly for anybody that goes through that. As you know, it's under investigation."
During Trump's visit, Blake's family gathered at the street where he was shot for what they called a "community celebration." Blake's uncle said in a statement, "We don't need more pain and division from a president set on advancing his campaign at the expense of our city."
I'm Caty Weaver.
Hai Do wrote this report for Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
tour –v. a trip in which you go through a place, such as a city, in order to see and learn about it and what happened there
disgusted –adj. very bothered, sickened or angry about something
polls –n.(pl.) activities in which people are asked questions about who they support politically and which are meant to give an idea of what the public thinks or who they support
advancing –n. the process of moving something forward or developing it further
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