Even as President Donald Trump loudly pledges to restore “law and order” to a Wisconsin city gripped by protests, he has remained silent on what prompted the unrest: another police shooting of a Black man.
The absence of any presidential statement about the shooting that left 29-year-old Jacob Blake partially paralyzed underscores the fraught approach to safety and policing Trump is adopting as he runs for reelection: while he has railed against Democratic authorities for allowing violence in their cities, he has largely brushed off the events and circumstances that led to the unrest.
White House officials said Trump is wary of commenting on incidents before the details are fully known, though Blake was shot on Sunday and police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have offered some details leading up to the incident.On Monday morning he was briefed on the incident by Attorney General William Barr, though details about what happened were still vague at the time, according to a senior administration official.
He was briefed additional times later on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Justice Department announced a federal civil rights investigation into Blake’s shooting.But Trump still hasn’t addressed the incident itself, choosing to focus instead on the ensuing protests and the state’s Democratic governor.
But Trump still hasn’t addressed the incident itself, choosing to focus instead on the ensuing protests and the state’s Democratic governor.”We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)” Trump wrote.
Later, the White House said in a statement the federal government had deployed nearly 1,000 National Guardsmen and 200 federal law enforcement personnel, including FBI and US Marshalls, to Wisconsin.
Efforts have been made inside the White House to connect Trump with Blake’s family, a White House official said, though by Wednesday evening it did not appear they had spoken. Trump’s election-year rival Joe Biden said in a video on Wednesday he had spoken with members of Blake’s family, including his mother.