President Donald Trump publicly vows to restore “law and order” in Wisconsin city amid Jacob Blake protests, he has remained silent on what caused the unrest.
The silence of any presidential comment about the shooting that left 29-year-old Jacob Blake partly paralyzed underscores the anxious approach to safety and policing Trump is following as he campaign to be renominated, while he has railed towards Democratic authorities for permitting violence in their cities, he has largely ignored the incident and circumstances that resulted to the unrest.
White House officials said President Donald Trump is cautious of making a statement on incidents before the details are revealed fully, though Blake was shot on Sunday and police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have provided some details resulting up to the incident.
On Monday morning he was told on the incident by Attorney General William Barr, though details about what occurred were still unknown at the time, according to a senior administration official.
He was informed many times later on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Justice Department reported a federal civil rights investigation into Blake’s shooting.
But President Donald Trump still hasn’t spoke about the incident itself, deciding to handle instead 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.
“TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!” he added.
Later, the White House said in a statement the federal government had positioned 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 link the president with Jacob Blake’s family, a White House official said, though by Wednesday evening it did not emerge 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.
“I told them ‘justice must and will be done,’ ” Biden said in the video.
Speaking on CNN, Blake’s mother Julia Jackson said she’d missed a phone call from President Donald Trump and said she had the “utmost respect for you as the leader of our country.”
“Had I not missed your call maybe the comments you had made would have been different. I’m not mad at you at all,” she said, though it wasn’t known which comments she was commenting on.
At this week’s Republican National Convention, speakers have sought to underscore Trump’s efforts to put an end to protests in American cities this summer. Vice President Mike Pence, dropping Wednesday’s keynote address, cited Wisconsin when mentioning US cities where he said violence had been allowed to rage.
“Last week, Joe Biden didn’t say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country,” Pence said, pledging President Donald Trump would bring back calm: “We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.”
Yet like Trump, Pence did not say the event that caused the violence in Wisconsin.
Wednesday’s convention programming came towards the backdrop of an expanding professional sports boycott, which featured players from the NBA, WNBA, the pro tennis tour, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer all declining to play in protest of Jacob Blake’s shooting.
Convention speakers this week have rudely attacked professional athletes for kneeling during the National Anthem, an earlier form of protest against police cruelty and systemic racism. Pence himself walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game in 2017 when players knelt.
Speaking in television interviews on Thursday morning, members of Trump’s staff minimized the recent player boycotts.
“In my mind, it’s absurd and silly,” said Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, on CNN. “If they wanna protest, I don’t think we care.”
Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, provided an equally unenthusiastic take.
“Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially so they have that luxury which is great,” Kushner said on CNBC.