Ailing Kenosha on edge as Trump visit looms amid tensions
Ben Crump, an attorney for Blake’s family, told CNN that Blake’s mother “was ready to receive the phone call, but for some reason the call never came, and we now understand why.”
“I don’t know why the president wouldn’t want the family to have their lawyers on the phone,” Crump said. “He seems to have lawyers with him when he talks to people.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke with Blake’s family last week.
Blake’s family planned a Tuesday “community celebration” to correspond with Trump’s visit.
“We don’t need more pain and division from a president set on advancing his campaign at the expense of our city,” said uncle Justin Blake in a statement. “We need justice and relief for our vibrant community.”
On Sunday, Evers sent Trump a letter urging him not to come, saying the visit “will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.” But Kenosha County Board supervisors urged him not to cancel.
“Kenoshans are hurting and looking for leadership, and your leadership in this time of crisis is greatly appreciated by those devastated by the violence in Kenosha,” a letter from seven supervisors said.
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian reiterated Monday that he believes Trump’s visit is coming at the wrong time.
“I think that Kenosha, at this present time, needs peace and needs to heal and needs people to allow us to do that,” he said.
Trump showed no signs of backing down, tweeting about the unrest in Kenosha and saying, ” I will see you on Tuesday!”
Diana Kreye, a 60-year-old resident of nearby Brighton, said Trump is exploiting the conflict.
“I don’t like that this has all become political,” said Kreye, an undecided voter.
Angel Tirado, 42, however, thinks Trump’s visit could help. “I hope he says something that can calm us all down,” said Tirado. “Maybe he’ll bring us together.”
Others doubt the president had any intention of closing divisions and pointed to his recent tweets and history of making racist comments.
“He’s not coming down here to heal,” said David Sanchez, 66, a retiree and Kenosha resident who expects thousands of people to show up to protest Trump. “He’s coming to Kenosha to start more trouble. I don’t care what he says.”
“He has done nothing over the last three years to bring people together,” said Raymond Roberts, 38, a data scientist and Afghanistan War veteran. “This is a bellwether county in a bellwether state. It’s all about his reelection.”
Trump has throughout the summer sought to cast U.S. cities as under siege by violence and lawlessness, despite the fact that most of the demonstrations against racial injustice have been peaceful.
Still, Trump is likely to find some support in a county he won in 2016 by fewer than 250 votes.
Oscar Escobar, 41, a Kenosha resident who owns a moving company and co-owns a bar and grill, said he doesn’t align with either Democrats or Republicans. He said it’s good that Trump plans to visit.
“I think it’s a great thing for him to show that he cares about what’s happening here in Kenosha and not turning his back on us and just leaving us alone,” Escobar said.
AP reporters Jennifer Peltz in Kenosha; Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Don Babwin in Chicago; and Amy Forliti in Minneapolis contributed.