By Adam Shaw | Fox News
‘We’re going to help people rebuild their businesses in Kenosha.’
President Trump on Tuesday got an up-close look at the damage caused by recent riots and looting in Kenosha, Wis. — touring property damaged by the violence and promising to help devastated businesses rebuild.
“We’re going to get it fixed up, we’re going to help people rebuild their businesses in Kenosha…we’re getting it straightened out,” he told reporters before visiting the city.
TRUMP TO VISIT RIOT-HIT KENOSHA, AFTER PROMISING ‘NO TOLERANCE’ FOR VIOLENCE
He toured the area, including a burnt out building still smelling of smoke, alongside officials including Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wold. He spoke with members of law enforcement as he visited the site.
His visit was also met by protesters, with a large group raising their middle fingers at the president as the motorcade passed.
President Donald Trump talks to business owners Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, as he tours an area damaged during demonstrations after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
He will later tour an emergency operations center at a local high school, and take part in a roundtable with local law enforcement.
Trump’s visit comes as he seeks to present a tough-on-crime approach and contrast it with that of Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden.
“We must strictly and fully enforce our law and have no tolerance for anarchy and no tolerance — zero — for violence,” he said during a press conference Monday. “Anyone who breaks the law should be arrested, prosecuted and punished.”
The visit comes over the objections of local Democrats, with Gov. Tony Evers, who has deployed the National Guard to help stop the violence, said Trump’s presence “will only hinder our healing.”
175 ARRESTS AMID KENOSHA, WISCONSIN UNREST
“I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together,” he said in a letter to Trump ahead of the week.
Trump has since hailed the deployment of the National Guard, which he had called for, as a turning point in stemming the chaos.
“The Violence stopped six days ago, the moment the Guard entered the picture,” he tweeted Tuesday morning.
The protests and riots were sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake last week — something protesters point to as another example of police brutality against Black men. Video seen on social media shows an officer shooting at Blake as he reached into his vehicle where Wisconsin officials later said a knife was found. The shooting left Blake paralyzed, according to his father.
During the protests sparked by the shooting, a self-described militia member is accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third. Teenager Kyle Rittenhouse faces murder charges in the shootings; his lawyer has claimed self-defense.
Trump said Monday that it appeared Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.
“That was an interesting situation,” Trump said during a press conference. “He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like, and he fell. And then they very violently attacked him. … He was in very big trouble. He would have been — you probably would’ve been killed.”
Protests and riots have hit a number of American cities throughout the summer since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota in May. But the violence in Wisconsin, a key swing state, could have electoral implications. Polls in recent days suggest Biden’s lead over Trump has tightened there.
The president has repeatedly warned that the unrest, occurring in Democratic-run cities, will only intensify if Biden’s elected in November.
Biden traveled to Pittsburgh on Monday where he took aim at Trump’s approach on the issue, asking, “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?”
He charged that “this president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence – because for years he has fomented it … fires are burning and we have a president who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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