President Trump today promised to help rebuild Kenosha, saying the city was “ravaged by anti-police and anti-American riots” after police shot a Black man in the back seven times.
During a roundtable in Kenosha, the president praised the law enforcement response to restore calm after several nights of violent protests following the shooting while taking aim at “reckless far-left politicians” he said regularly accuse law enforcement of being racist.
The president held up Kenosha as an example of what can happen when law enforcement works together to address violent riots, repeatedly urging officials in Portland to follow suit after months of violent protests.
“It’s all Democrat. Everything is Democrat. All of these problems are Democrat cities. We don’t want to say it, but it is,” Trump said at the roundtable after touring the damage left by last week’s violent protests.
During the roundtable, Trump announced $1 million to Kenosha law enforcement, $4 million to support small businesses rebuild and $42 million to back law enforcement statewide. Trump didn’t provide any details during the roundtable, but a White House spokesman tweeted the $42 million included support for public safety, additional prosecutors and crime victims.
The White House didn’t immediately provide details of how the aid was funded or who would receive it.
Trump painted a picture of local, state and federal authorities working hand-in-hand to quell the violence. But he took to Twitter last week to push Tony Evers to call up the National Guard even though the guv had already taken that step. The guv also initially declined federal assistance.
Trump said his administration coordinated with state and local authorities to “very, very swiftly deploy the National Guard” and send a surge of federal law enforcement to the city.
Just before the roundtable began, Trump thanked Evers for accepting federal help after initially refusing an offer to have Department of Homeland Security agents assist.
“When I called the governor I wish he would have accepted night one instead of night three, because night one those stores would still be up,” Trump said. “But he’s better than many, he accepted. In all fairness to the governor, he accepted. And when he accepted it all ended.”
Trump during the roundtable praised U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, for calling the White House a week ago seeking assistance. Steil told him he was getting calls from people in the city who wanted additional resources, regardless of who sent them.
“But what you did is made the call that said enough is enough. We need to get resources into the city of Kenosha,” Steil told the president, adding it sent a message to the “criminal element that they knew that Kenosha meant business.”
Trump also chided a reporter who asked about peaceful protests to end systemic racism, saying his question should instead be focused on anarchists, looters, rioters and agitators.
“These are not acts of peaceful protesters, but really domestic terrorists,” Trump said.
During his remarks, the president didn’t address the 17-year-old who shot three protesters last week, killing two, and reporters didn’t ask him about Kyle Rittenhouse. Yesterday, Trump didn’t condemn the Antioch, Ill., teenager’s actions.
Ahead of the visit, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said Trump has fanned the flames of racial tension “in every moment” of his presidency.
At a Kenosha news conference, the Town of Vermont Dem slammed the president for not “taking a stand” against vigilante militia groups, saying he has yet to condemn Rittenhouse’s actions.
“Donald Trump has to have a message of unity,” he said. “If he doesn’t, he again is only taking care of Donald Trump. He wasn’t up for this job when he was elected and he still isn’t up for this job today.”
At a separate news conference, Jacob Blake’s uncle said his family didn’t want to discuss “the orange man” and instead focus on getting justice for his nephew.
Before the roundtable, Trump toured some of the damage from the protests, including a store that had been torched. Under heavy security, including armored personnel carriers and police in camouflage carrying automatic rifles blocking the street, he spoke with owners of the store. He promised to get them help while saying “These gentlemen did a fantastic job” while pointing to deputy sheriffs.
“We’ll help you rebuild,” he promised.