Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers released a statement Sunday asking President Donald Trump to cancel a planned visit to the city of Kenosha.
Following rioting and other civil unrest after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police on Aug. 23, Trump intends to visit the city Tuesday.
Evers, a Democrat, said in a statement released online and on social media that the president should not come to the state.
The governor asked Trump to “reconsider” his Kenosha visit, writing in a letter that he and other leaders in the community are worried Trump’s visit will be detrimental to the peace of the city and the state.
“When I visited Kenosha last week, what I saw was a community working to deal with the trauma and pain of these events and extreme loss,” Evers wrote. “They are exhausted and heartbroken with the division that has ripped apart their community, but they are also already working to rebuild, together, and support each other in the face of adversity.”
“I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing,” the governor added. “I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
Citing the Blake shooting, and the shooting incident last week involving 17-year-old suspect Kyle Rittenhouse, the Democrat added, “Kenosha and communities across Wisconsin are enduring extraordinary grief, grappling with a Black man being shot seven times and the loss of two additional lives Tuesday night at the hands of an out-of-state armed militant.”
“It is our job as elected officials to lead by example and to be a calming presence for the people we know are hurting, mourning, and trying to cope with trauma,” Evers continued. “Now is not the time for divisiveness. Now is not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state instigators who want to contribute to our anguish.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) asks President Donald Trump to reconsider visit to Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/TcUtM6dPWn
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) August 30, 2020
The White House responded to Evers Sunday night in a statement by deputy press secretary Judd Deere.
Deere said Trump will not be deterred from visiting the city.
“The White House has been humbled by the outreach of individuals from Kenosha who have welcomed the President’s visit and are longing for leadership to support local law enforcement and businesses that have been vandalized,” Deere said, according to CNN.
“President Trump looks forward to visiting on Tuesday and helping this great city heal and rebuild,” he added.
Trump first announced he would visit Kenosha over the weekend after the city became the country’s latest hotspot for violence and unrest.
On Aug. 23, Jacob Blake, 29, was shot in the back by police while officers attempted to arrest him on a warrant for an alleged sex crime.
Police have said Blake was armed and refused to comply with orders after they attempted to apprehend him with non-lethal force.
In the ensuing unrest, Kenosha was engulfed by rioting and numerous cases of suspected arson.
On Aug. 25, Rittenhouse allegedly shot three people, killing two.
Attorneys for the teen contend he was acting in self-defense after he was attacked.
Videos spreading on social media show a person, assumed to be Rittenhouse, holding a rifle as he is chased down a street. After being knocked to the ground, the person alleged to be the teen opened fire.
The presence of National Guard troops quelled the unrest in Kenosha after Trump convinced Evers to put an end to the violence.
When Trump announced his Kenosha visit on Saturday, he commented on the success of using troops to put an end to rioting.
“We sent in the National Guard, and within a few minutes of the Guard, everybody cleared out, and it became safe,” Trump said.
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