“The people of Portland, like every other city and part of our great country, want law and order,” Trump later tweeted. “Left-wing radical Democratic mayors, like the model running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement who doesn’t want to lead or even expose the crime, will never be able to do it!”
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‘Probably’: Trump says he’s likely to visit town where police shot Jacob Blake
Throughout the summer, Trump held American cities under siege with violence and lawlessness, despite the fact that most protests against racial injustice have been largely peaceful. About nine weeks before election day, some of his advisers see an aggressive ‘law and order’ message as the best way for the president to turn voters against his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, and to regain support from voters in suburbs, especially women, who abandoned it. But Democrats accuse Trump of fostering unrest and trying to stoke more violence for political ends instead of seeking to reduce tensions.
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“He may think that the war on our streets is good for his chances of re-election, but that is not the presidential leadership – or even basic human compassion,” Biden said in a statement in response to the shooting, in which he “unequivocally” condemned violence against all. aside, while accusing Trump of “recklessly encouraging him.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, blamed Trump for the tensions.
“Do you seriously ask yourself, Mr. President, why is this the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” he asked during a televised press conference. “It was you who created hatred and division.”
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Trump, who appeared to be watching, responded with real-time tweets calling Wheeler a “wacky Democrat on the radical left doing nothing.”
After a reporter told Wheeler about the tweet, the mayor retorted, “I would appreciate the president supporting us or staying away.
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Trump has called the upcoming election a conflict between “public order” and lawlessness, and he denounced the protesters as “thugs” while firmly standing up for the police. This theme was at the forefront of last week’s Republican National Convention, which used images from recent protests to paint a disturbing and violent picture of the future if Biden denied Trump a second term.
Trump is expected to continue to address this theme when he visits Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday, where tensions are still high after police shot Jacob Blake, a black man seven times in the back. age 29, leaving him paralyzed. The shooting sparked further protests against racial injustice and police brutality months after George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked broader race awareness.
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Trump will meet with law enforcement officials and ‘investigate’ the damage in the city, where businesses have been vandalized and some buildings have been set on fire during protests, White House spokesman Judd said. Deere.
But Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, asked Trump to reconsider in a letter Sunday.
“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, am concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state. I’m afraid your presence will only hinder our healing. I’m afraid your presence will only delay our work to overcome the division and move forward together, ”Evers wrote in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press.
Earlier Sunday, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes also expressed concerns about the visit. “I don’t know how, given the president’s previous statements, that he intends to come here to be helpful. And we absolutely don’t need it right now, ”Barnes said in an interview with CNN.
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Representative Karen Bass, a California Democrat who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, said Trump “was doing all he could to fan the flames.”
“I think his visit has one purpose and one purpose. And that’s to shake things up and make matters worse, ”Bass said on CNN’s“ State of the Union ”Sunday. “It is clear that his campaign is focused on law and order. It’s a throwback to the past. And he will do everything to disrupt law and order during this time.
Deere responded to the critics by saying, “The only people to blame for the violence and riots on our streets are the liberal politicians and their incompetent politicians who have failed to bring these destructive situations under control.”
It took days for Trump to weigh in on the set of Blake, which was captured on cellphone video, and even then he didn’t have much to say.
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“Well, I’m paying close attention to this. I’m going to get reports, ”he said in an interview in New Hampshire on Friday. “It wasn’t a great sight. I didn’t like the view, sure, and I think most people would agree with that.
Trump offered similar words – “We are examining it very, very carefully” – when asked on Saturday about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old white boy who was accused of killing two protesters and injuring a third on Tuesday after his trip to Kenosha, apparently to defend the city from protesters. Lawyers representing Rittenhouse, who was seen walking with an assault rifle, said he was acting in self-defense.
But Trump on Sunday appeared to lend his support to the teenager when he liked a retweet from a series of posts that began: “Kyle Rittenhouse is a good example of why I decided to vote Trump. . ”
The circumstances of the Saturday night shooting in Portland remain unclear. Video from the city shows sporadic fighting between the groups, with Trump supporters firing paintballs at their opponents and using bear spray as counter-defenders have threw things at the Trump trailer.
The man killed was a member of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with protesters in Portland in the past, its founder, Joey Gibson, said on Sunday.
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The White House and its allies, meanwhile, continued to blame local leaders for allowing protests to rage night after night.
“When you encourage contempt for the police, you encourage criminals. When you do little or nothing to stop the riots, you are promoting lawlessness. So when you encourage criminals and lawlessness, people’s lives are lost, ”Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said on CNN’s“ State of the Union ”.
Associate Writers of Pres Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Oregon; Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; and Laurie Kellman and Will Weissert and Washington contributed to this report.
© 2020 The Canadian Press