Last weekend, the police shooting of Jacob Blake reinvigorated Black Lives Matter protests around the US. Since then, President Donald Trump has condemned civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and has scheduled a visit to the city. However, Wisconsin governor Tony Evers has implored the president not to make an appearance.
“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state,” Evers wrote in an earnest letter to the president. “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.”
Trump has planned to move forward with a visit to Kenosha in spite of Evers’ request he stay away. Since taking office, Trump has been a norm-shattering president. He has been accused of stoking violence with his incendiary rhetoric. Many have blamed the president for the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, as well as the Kenosha shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse.
Trump, for his own part, continues to put a spotlight on protests when they escalate into riots and looting. The president has sought to discredit voices calling for an end to police brutality by connecting them to the most violent elements of the protests.
Ironically, the president has also painted police officers who use extreme force as “bad apples” who aren’t indicative of any systemic issues with American policing.
Civil unrest in the US has escalated in recent months. A common Black Lives Matter mantra, “No Justice, No Peace,” is often heard chanted during protests around the US.
In Kenosha, protesters vandalized, looted, and set fire to numerous buildings before Evers called in the National Guard. In response to ongoing unrest, Evers doubled down on the National Guard’s presence in the city.
Protesters who have escalated unrest into full-blown riots have been criticized for not protesting the right way. However, some in the Black Lives Matter movement have defended these actions, stating that it takes extreme acts to get the attention of those in power.
A viral BLM post on social media reads “if you don’t want businesses looted, stop shooting unarmed black people.”
This frustrating continues to boil over as the November election looms. Donald Trump, a president who is maligned by many younger people and black Americans, is fighting for reelection against former vice president Joe Biden. Much pressure has been placed on the election in light of the widespread unrest.