Donald Trump ignored the requests of local officials not to come and refused to address systemic racism.
A day after visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin, Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that he had "solved" the violent clashes in the city between anti-racism protesters and his supporters. But the clashes continued.
Trump used his brief visit to attack Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for the violence that has been occurring on his own watch.
"Joe Biden is not on the side of Law Enforcement, and that was spectacularly evident on my very successful trip yesterday to Kenosha," he tweeted. "We solved the problem quickly, and it was very much appreciated by the people of Wisconsin. Joe Biden wouldn't know where to begin — a bad record!"
Trump made the trip — despite explicit requests from Wisconsin's governor and local officials to stay away — a week after a Kenosha police officer repeatedly shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back and just days after a Trump supporter allegedly murdered protesters responding to the shooting.
Trump met with law enforcement officials and with business owners who sustained property damage during some of the demonstrations. When Tom Gram, the owner of a camera store that was burned down, refused to participate in a photo opportunity with Trump, Trump posed for photo with a former owner of the store, who had sold it to Gram eight years earlier, instead. Said Gram, "I think everything he does turns into a circus and I just didn't want to be involved in it."
Rather than address the racial tensions that have fueled days of protests by Black Lives Matter supporters and counterprotests by his fans, Trump attacked the people protesting against systemic racism.
On Monday, prior to his trip, Trump attacked Black Lives Matter as "a bunch of thugs" and "discriminatory." Asked if he would condemn 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, the Trump supporter who was arrested last week and charged with multiple homicides after traveling from Illinois to Kenosha with an AR-15-style assault weapon, Trump defended the accused killer.
During his visit on Tuesday, Trump was asked at a press availability if he believed systemic racism was a real problem, given the many incidents of police violence against Black people across the nation. Instead of answering the question, he scolded the reporter for asking it and denounced anti-racism protesters as "really bad people."
As Trump railed against what he called "domestic terror" by protesters in Kenosha, he made little mention of Jacob Blake. He refused to meet with Blake's family or call them on the phone because the family wanted their lawyer to participate in the call.
Biden responded to Trump's visit on Tuesday night, saying, "Donald Trump has failed to protect America. So now he's trying to scare the hell out of America. Violence isn't a problem in Donald Trump's eyes. It's a political strategy." Biden noted that Trump had failed to condemn "violence of all kinds, no matter who commits it."
After Trump left Kenosha, protests continued on Tuesday evening, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, including a fist fight between a Black Lives Matter activist and a Trump supporter. As of Wednesday morning, the police officer who shot Blake had still not been charged with any crime.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.