'The hypocrisy knows no end': GOP leaders criticize Biden's Kenosha visit following virtual DNC
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin's top Republican leaders called Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s visit to Wisconsin "hypocritical" and said it shows the stark contrasts between their party and the Democratic Party.
On a press call Thursday, Sept. 3, Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin GOP Chairman Andrew Hitt criticized Biden for coming to Wisconsin exactly two weeks after he accepted his party's nomination in Delaware, instead of Milwaukee.
Biden was originally scheduled to speak in Milwaukee during the Democratic National Convention, but just two weeks before the convention, his campaign announced the convention would be moving almost entirely virtual.
"It's amazing that after almost two years of being away from Wisconsin, it took these kind of riots to get Joe Biden to show up," Walker said. "He couldn't even be here when the convention was going on. This is the first trip he has made to Wisconsin in his entire campaign for president. That's in 2019 and 2020."
Walker said he believed the visit was motivated not by a need to help protect the city of Kenosha but by polls and focus groups.
"People in the media can't write off the argument that it's because of the global pandemic. He didn't come last year. He didn't come this year even before things shut down," Walker said.
Biden's visit marked the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has visited Wisconsin since 2012.
"Choosing to campaign in Kenosha is probably a way to sort of swat away the comments about well Hillary (Clinton) didn't campaign here. Now (Biden) is obligated to come here. So in other words, 'That issue is taken care of. I've campaigned in Wisconsin,'" said Mordecai Lee, UW-Milwaukee professor emeritus.
Hitt accused Biden and Democrats of playing politics, asking how the spread of COVID-19 is different this week from the week of the DNC.
"The hypocrisy knows no end for the Democrats of this 2020 cycle," Hitt said. "Why come now when it was too dangerous evidently to come two weeks ago?"
Data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows Wisconsin’s 7-day average was only slightly lower Thursday than during the week of the DNC.
Hitt and Walker also criticized Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers for sending a letter asking President Donald Trump not to come to Wisconsin. They said the president showed his commitment to business owners and law and order.
Evers said Thursday that he did make it clear to Biden as well that he did not want either candidate visiting the state.
Lee said he encourages Wisconsin voters to pay attention to what both candidates said during their visits to Wisconsin this week.
"The two Kenosha visits are the ultimate example that there are differences between the parties. They have different values. They see the world differently," Lee said.
Biden met with Jacob Blake's family during his visit and spoke with Blake on the phone Thursday, according to his campaign.
Trump did not meet with the Blake family during his visit to Wisconsin. Walker said he believed the president was right not to meet with them because he should not presume judgment on Officer Rusten Sheskey, who the Wisconsin Department of Justice said shot Blake seven times.
"There is an independent investigation (into the shooting of Blake) being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice... I think it is premature until we know all the facts through that independent investigation," Walker said.