Leaders, residents have mixed reactions as Kenosha prepares for President Trump's visit
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The City of Kenosha is preparing for a visit from President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
The trip comes as the city reels more than one week after Kenosha police shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake.
It also will come a week to the day that two people were shot and killed during unrest.
The White House says President Trump will meet with business owners and local law enforcement, but has no plans to meet with the family of Jacob Blake.
Pres. Trump confirmed his trip to the city Monday, Aug. 31, even despite opposition from elected officials and other local leaders. He took to social media to criticize the state's response to the unrest, saying it was at his insistence that the National Guard was sent into the city.
Pres. Trump ended his tweet saying, "see you Tuesday."
If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now. Also, there would have been great death and injury. I want to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard. I will see you on Tuesday!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2020
Some Kenosha leaders say they’re afraid President Trump’s visit will only add to the anger and violence in the city.
“The timing on this we felt was not good,” says Mayor John Antaramian. “We did make the request for him to do it at a different time.”
The mayor and County Executive Jim Kreuser reiterated their requests for the president to hold off on his scheduled visit during a news conference Monday.
“You have a community that’s in the process of trying to heal,” says Antaramian. “There are so many things that have gone on in this community it just seemed to me, and I think others, that it would be better for us to pull together.”
The request was echoed by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
“I don’t know how given any of the previous statements that the president made that he intends to be helpful,” says Barnes. “We absolutely don’t need that right now.”
Not every city official is against the president’s visit.
“What’s important here is for the president to come, visit the city of Kenosha, see where a lot of this damage happened, and let the people who call Kenosha home know that he heard the cries for help and hopefully he hears our cries for help moving forward,” says Supervisor Zach Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is one of seven supervisors who sent a letter urging Trump to come to town.
“It would have been nice if he would have waited down the road, but it is what it is,” says Antaramian.
The Kenosha Police Chief, Daniel Miskinis, was not at the news conference. The department said he was busy preparing for the president’s visit.
Kenosha residents are also split about whether President Trump should visit the city so soon after violence gripped the community.
“I wish I could feel good about it,” said Nataly Marinas, who thinks the city has been through too much in the past week, and the president should stay away.
“The President of the United States is coming and I want to feel like I feel more safe, and I unfortunately don’t feel that way,” said Marinas.
“I’m glad he’s coming,” said resident Darlene Bell. She is among the people who feel this is the perfect time for President Trump to visit Kenosha.
“It means a lot to me,” said Bell. “He’s just showing his support, and I think we need that,” she said, “he’s our president, you have to respect that right or wrong.”
After Kenosha burned early last week, the past few days have been calm. But adding a polarizing president to a divided city could just set this community back at a time when they are desperate to move forward.