(WISCONSIN) — Following a press conference at the White House where Donald Trump refused to condemn Kyle Rittenhouse, who is being charged with multiple homicides after killing two Wisconsinites, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Vice-Chair Felesia Martin released the following statement:
“Our country is in the midst of a racial justice crisis, where we have a president who fans the flames of hate and roots for chaos because he thinks it’s good for his politics. Donald Trump has no problem condemning peaceful Black and Brown protestors, labeling them “thugs” and “terrorists”, but when asked directly about Kyle Rittenhouse, who is being charged with the murder of two Wisconsinites, the President refused to condemn him. There is no clearer sign that Trump is trying to increase the chaos he has sown across this country, and tomorrow’s visit is merely a photo-op, as Trump tries to use the grief of Kenosha to further inflame tensions. He is a failed president who is relying on violence to try to win re-election. It is wrong; it is dangerous, and it is completely void of the leadership we need to get through and heal from this crisis.”
Trump mischaracterizes Kenosha protest shooting, defends Rittenhouse on eve of visit to city roiled by unrest, violence
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel // Molly Beck, Sophie Carson, Bill Glauber
- On the eve of his visit to Kenosha, President Donald Trump defended a 17-year-old Illinois resident who was charged last week in a brutal shooting attack against demonstrators that left two people dead and one seriously wounded.
- The president also mischaracterized the incident in which Kyle Rittenhouse was accused of using an assault-style rifle.
- Trump’s latest comments set the stage for what could be a highly charged visit from the most powerful man in the world at a time when the community is still recovering from a week of shootings and unrest that left a Black man paralyzed, two white protesters dead and businesses looted and burned.
- The president is coming to Kenosha despite a plea from Wisconsin’s governor and other Democratic state leaders to stay away until the city has healed.
- Asked about the tweet and the president’s claim that without his action “there would be no Kenosha right now,” Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said it was “a false statement.”
- Trump said he is not planning to visit Jacob Blake, a Black Kenosha man who was shot seven times in the back by a city police officer on Aug. 23.
- Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Blake family, told MSNBC on Monday that his office has received “no calls” from the White House.
- The shooting of Blake sparked protests and violence and drew to the city armed men who considered themselves to be part of a militia.
- In a statement, Blake’s uncle Justin Blake said: “We don’t need more pain and division from a President set on advancing his campaign at the expense of our city. We need justice and relief for our vibrant community.”
- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday accused Trump of stoking violence in American cities.
- “We have to stand against violence in every form it takes,” Biden said during a speech in Pennsylvania.
- Biden spoke out against “unwarranted police shootings and excessive force,” condemned the violence of “extremists and opportunists” and “right-wing militias,” as well as the “senseless violence of looting and burning and destruction of property.”
- “Rioting is not protesting, looting is not protesting, setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction.”
- Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan tweeted “Donald Trump is playing political games with people’s lives—we don’t need his division & fear-mongering in Kenosha.”