Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers asked President Donald Trump in a letter on Sunday to “reconsider” his planned visit to Kenosha after the city suffered damage during riots that broke out following the police shooting of alleged sex offender Jacob Blake last week.
“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state,” said the Democratic governor in the letter. “I’m concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
“Now is not the time for divisiveness,” Evers added (pdf).
Just hours later, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement that the president was still looking forward to visiting Kenosha on Sept. 1 after receiving messages from other Kenosha residents who expressed their support for the presidential visit.
“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 stated.
“President Trump looks forward to visiting on Tuesday and helping this great city heal and rebuild.”
Trump had first expressed his interest in visiting Kenosha on Saturday during a press briefing.
Trump had told reporters that the city was “in very, very good shape” after 1,000 National Guard soldiers were requested by Evers to assist in quelling the violence that broke out after news of Blake’s injuries.
“The sheriff has been great. The police commissioner, the police chief has been great. We’ve been working with all of them.”
The White House confirmed that the visit would go ahead later that night.
“President DonaldTrump will visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday to meet with local law enforcement and survey damage from the recent riots,” Deere announced on Twitter.
Senior Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump told Fox News on Sunday that the president’s team was still working on arranging a meeting between the president and Blake’s family.
“He’s reached out to the Blake family,” she said. “I don’t know if they were able to connect yet. And I don’t know for sure if that’s on the agenda.”
Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., told CNN that he had spoken to Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, on Wednesday about the shooting of his son.
Blake’s family revealed Tuesday that Blake was still paralyzed from the waist down after having undergone multiple surgeries following the shooting.
Blake was rushed to hospital after the Sunday shooting in critical condition, where he remains.
The police officer who shot Blake, Rusten Sheskey, has since been placed on administrative leave and is under investigation by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation under the state’s Department of Justice.
Sheskey shot Blake seven times after Blake resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him after they received a call from his former girlfriend for help. Blake had a warrant out for his arrest and a restraining order stipulating that he wasn’t to approach his ex-girlfriend after an alleged sexual assault.
A criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times showed that Blake was charged in July with trespassing, third-degree sexual assault, and disorderly conduct.
The 29-year-old’s mother, Julia Jackson, has denounced Sheskey’s use of force, saying that her family is “very hurt” and “quite frankly disgusted.”
The New York Times reported Saturday that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had also announced travel plans to a yet to be disclosed location on Monday to “condemn violence” that he said in a statement was due to Trump “recklessly encouraging.”
Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pushed back at Biden’s comments telling NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “Most of Donald Trump’s America is peaceful.