Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has decided to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday, making the decision one day after a senior adviser for his campaign said he didn’t want to go an disrupt the “peaceful nature” or the protests there, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“Vice President Biden will hold a community meeting in Kenosha to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face,” a Biden campaign statement read. “After, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden will make a local stop.”
Campaign adviser Symone Sanders just told CNN on Tuesday that while Biden did want to visit Wisconsin at some point, the campaign didn’t believe now is the right time and that a visit could be disruptive to the city.
“Look he doesn’t want to do anything that would create a tussle, if you will, on the ground,” Sanders said. “He doesn’t want to do anything to upset, kind of as you noted in your opening, the peaceful nature of what is currently happening in Kenosha but also throughout the state at large.”
Sanders said Trump’s visit to Kenosha was just “pouring gas” on the situation.
Things may have calmed down in Kenosha in recent days, but the week following the police shooting of Jacob Blake was anything but peaceful. Protests during the day devolved into riots after dark, with businesses being burned down and people being shot in the streets.
Some instigators of the unrest came from 44 different cities, police said, a trend that was also found in Minnesota after the death of George Floyd — outsiders converging on a volatile protest situation and escalating it to dangerous levels. Of the 175 people arrested last week during riots, 102 of them had out-of-state addresses listed.
Perhaps Biden’s pivot is a result of pressure from President Donald Trump, who visited Kenosha on Tuesday, touring the damage from the riots and announcing millions of dollars in funding to law enforcement and to local businesses that were damaged or destroyed. He placed the blame on far-left radicals for the situation.
“To stop the political violence we must also confront the radical ideology that includes this violence,” Trump said at a roundtable session in Kenosha. “Reckless far-left politicians continue to push the destructive message that our nation and our law enforcement are oppressive or racist — they’ll throw out any word that comes to them.”
The president pledged $42 million to support public safety in the state through law enforcement and prosecutors, and an additional $1 million to Kenosha police. And $4 million will go to local businesses for recovery.
Police are still investigating the Kenosha PD shooting of Blake, which occurred on Aug. 23. Blake was shot seven times in the back by an officer who reportedly believed Blake was reaching in his car for a knife that was found on the floor of the driver’s seat.