Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, Mandela Barnes, has said the state does not need a visit from President Donald Trump, following his “incendiary remarks” on last week’s racial protests in the city.
The state’s Democratic lieutenant governor said this on Sunday August 31, 2020, a week after a Black man was shot in the back by a white terrorist.
“Trump, who has taken a hard stance against racial protests in the country, will visit Kenosha on Tuesday,” a White House spokesman said late on Saturday.
Mandela Barnes spoke to the crowd gathered at Civic Center Park located outside of the Kenosha County Courthouse, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., August 29, 2020.
“They centered an entire convention around creating more animosity and creating more division around what’s going on in Kenosha,” Barnes said, referring to last week’s Republican National Convention.
“So I don’t know how, given any of the previous statements that the president made, that he intends to come here to be helpful, and we absolutely don’t need that right now,” he added.
On August 22, shootings killed Jacob Blake, who was shot in front of three of his children and turned Kenosha, a mostly white city south of Milwaukee, into the latest flashpoint in a summer of U.S. demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
But critics questioned Trump’s decision to visit, with some describing it as an attempt to exacerbate violence with incendiary rhetoric.
Republicans deny this, saying Trump,
who faces Democratic former vice president Joe Biden in the November 3 U.S. presidential election, wants to restore law and order.
U.S. Representative Karen Bass, the chairman Congressional Black Caucus, predicted Trump’s Kenosha visit would only make things worse.
“His visit has one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to agitate things. We’re 66 days from an election and I think it’s a tragedy that we have a president that is doing everything he can to fan the flames,” the Democrat told news reporters.
Republicans suggested state officials had been slow to restore order and said the federal government was ready to provide additional law enforcement, including in Portland, Oregon where one person was shot dead late on Saturday as protesters from rival groups clashed in the northwest U.S. city.
“Any governor, Republican or Democrat … can request help from the federal government. We are willing to come in; we are willing to provide additional assets as we did in Kenosha,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told said recently.
“All options continue to be on the table” to resolve the Portland protests, including sending in federal law enforcement assistance, the acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said on Sunday.