The Trump administration will be granting $1 million to the Kenosha Police Department in support of their efforts to defuse the current unrest in the city, according to remarks made by President Donald Trump while visiting Kenosha on Tuesday.
Trump told reporters that he will also be granting $4 million to small business recovery for those businesses that have suffered damages from the riots, and $42 million statewide to advance law enforcement efforts.
"We must give far greater support to our law enforcement. It’s all about giving them additional support. These are great people. ... These are brave people. They’re fighting to save people that they never met before, in many cases. And they’re incredible. We must really be thankful that we have them, and we have to help them do their jobs," Trump said.
The president traveled to Kenosha to observe the damage from the riots that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23.
Following the tour of the damages, Trump held a roundtable conference joined by Attorney General William Barr, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wold, Senator Ron Johnson, Congressman Bryan Steil, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, and others.
During the conference, Trump asked a pastor to pray for the current situation in Kenosha.
"Father, we ask you to forgive us all when we’ve strayed from your ways and where we’ve not acknowledged your word. We ask that you would continue to cause this nation to be one nation, under God," Pastor James Ward of Insight Church prayed.
Trump described the root of the violence as a message driven by “reckless far-left politicians.”
"To stop the political violence we must also confront the radical ideology that includes this violence. 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," he said at the roundtable.
"We have to condemn the dangerous, anti-police rhetoric."
Trump also expressed some sympathy toward police, saying they could have a long "spotless" record but make one "wrong decision" in "a quarter of a second."
"They’re under tremendous pressure. And they may be there for 15 years and have a spotless record. And all of a sudden, they’re faced with a decision. They have a quarter of a second — quarter of a second — to make a decision. And if they make a wrong decision, one way or the other, they’re either dead or they’re in big trouble. And people have to understand that. They choke sometimes. And it’s a very tough situation, right? Then people call them 'bad' and 'horrible,'" he said.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back by a Wisconsin police officer. He survived but is paralyzed from the waist down, his family said.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is investigating the shooting, said officers were dispatched to a residence "after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises."
Officers tried to arrest Blake but after two unsuccessful taser attempts, Blake "walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward. While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times." Blake admitted afterward during the investigation that he had a knife in his possession. A knife was recovered from the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Blake was trying to intervene in a domestic incident and that his children were in the vehicle when the shooting happened. He argued that Blake was racially profiled.
The conversation around the Kenosha riots increased one week ago when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three rioters, killing two and injuring one, after they chased him down and attacked him.
Trump commented on Rittenhouse at a White House press conference on Monday and erred on the side of Rittenhouse’s defense, saying he was “trying to get away from them,” referring to the mob who was chasing the armed teenager.
“He was trying to get away from them, I guess it looks like, and he fell and then they very violently attacked him, and it was something that we are looking at right now and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would’ve been killed. It’s under investigation.”