In defiance of appeals to stay away, President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday to highlight his "law and order" re-election campaign message, touring a burned-out furniture store and camera shop destroyed during civil unrest, after a white police officer shot a Black man in the back.
"These governors don't want to call. The mayors don't want to call."
The state's governor and the city's mayor both urged Trump to avoid Kenosha to prevent inflaming tensions. Trump said the governor and mayor should've acted sooner to prevent the destruction of some buildings.
"They just don't want us to come and then destruction is done. A day earlier we would have saved your store."
At a makeshift emergency command center set up at a local high school, Trump expressed his support for law enforcement and praised National Guard troops.
But Trump did not visit Jacob Blake, the man who was paralyzed from the waist down after a white police officer fired at his back seven times on August 23rd.
Trump said he had planned to speak with Blake's family, but ultimately did not.
At a roundtable with local business leaders, law enforcement officials, pastors, and Republican lawmakers, Trump promised to rebuild Kenosha and provide more federal spending to Wisconsin, a political battleground state Trump won narrowly in 2016 and badly needs to keep in his column as he seeks re-election.
Flanked by his Attorney General and Acting Homeland Security chief, Trump also called recent protests "domestic terror" in a city where anti-racist demonstrators have clashed with Trump supporters, including a 17-year-old militia member who has been charged with killing two people and wounding another with a semi-automatic rifle.
Trump's visit to Kenosha comes the day after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for rioters and looters to be prosecuted and slammed Trump, saying he forfeited any moral leadership and stokes violence in American cities that have been gripped by protests over police brutality and racial inequality.