US President Donald Trump is not going to meet with Jacob Blake’s family in Wisconsin because they wanted to involve lawyers, he said at a news conference on Monday.
Blake, a Black man, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparking demonstrations in the city. Trump will visit Kenosha on Tuesday.
“Well, I spoke to the (family’s) pastor … and I thought it would be better not to do anything where there were lawyers involved. They wanted me to speak. They wanted to have lawyers involved and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that. But I did speak with the pastor of the family,” Trump said.
The President said he and the pastor had “a great talk,” adding, “I may at some point do that, but they did have a lawyer that wanted to be on the phone and I said no. That’s inappropriate, but I did just give my best regards.
“Asked about Trump’s comments by CNN’s Jim Acosta on “The Situation Room,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Blake family, said it was a routine practice for his clients to have legal counsel with them when they spoke to someone in the government, including Barack Obama during his presidency and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Blake’s father told Acosta his family doesn’t have a pastor. White House senior communications adviser Ben Williamson later tweeted that Trump was referring to the pastor of the younger Blake’s mother.
“I’m not going to play politics. This is my son’s life we’re talking about,” Blake Sr. told Acosta.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins earlier Monday that, “Currently the plans are to meet with local law enforcement and some business owners, and he’ll survey the damage. But there will be more detailed plans forthcoming when they’re announced.”Justin Blake, James Blake’s uncle, told CNN that Jacob Blake’s father “has no interest in speaking with President Trump.” His only interest at the moment, Justin Blake said, is his son’s well-being and getting justice.
“President Trump is a racist who stokes racial tensions. He has been stirring racial tensions since he got in the White House. Why, as Jacob’s uncle, would I want to talk to him? Our focus is on Jacob and healing the community,” Justin Blake said, adding that he hasn’t spoken with Jacob Blake’s mother about speaking with Trump.
Trump’s visit to the swing state to condemn violence during the demonstrations marks the latest apparent attempt to continue his campaign against Democrat-run cities and states.Polls showed that Trump’s numbers tumbled after George Floyd’s death in May and the unrest that followed. So now, in the wake of another shooting of a Black man by police, it seems the President’s strategy to respond has shifted.
Throughout the Republican National Convention last week, Trump’s supporters and the President himself warned of a Democratic-run America turning cities across the country into hotbeds of violence, rioting and looting.
Trump met with Attorney General William Barr and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Monday afternoon to discuss ongoing civil unrest across the country, two senior administration sources told CNN. And during the press conference later on Monday, Trump spoke at length about what he called “violent, left-wing civil unrest.
“And in Kenosha on Tuesday, Trump will use the city as a backdrop to make that case a couple of months before the election.Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has asked Trump to not visit Kenosha as the city works to heal and to prevent diverting local resources for a presidential visit.
“I am 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,” Evers said in a letter to Trump.
Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden charged that Trump wants to foment additional violence.”Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?” Biden asked repeatedly throughout a speech in Pennsylvania.
Trump is “supposed to be protecting this country. But instead he’s rooting for chaos and violence,” and is “trying to scare America,” Biden said.