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In Kenosha, Trump praises police after controversial remarks about violence

President Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, a day after defending a supporter who allegedly killed two people there. Kenosha erupted in outrage after police shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back, reportedly leaving him paralyzed. During Trump's visit, which numerous city officials opposed, he toured burned-out buildings, praised police and denounced local Democrats. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Race, justice, law and order. We face a critical moment in America.

    As Yamiche Alcindor reports, protests in the streets are a key issue at the ballot box, and Wisconsin was at the center of attention today.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    One day after comparing police shootings to golfing and defending a Trump supporter who allegedly killed two people, President Trump came to Kenosha, Wisconsin.

    The city is still reeling from the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The president toured damages stemming from the unrest and met with law enforcement.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We have seen tremendous violence, and we will put it out very, very quickly, if given the chance, and that's what this is all about.

    Yes, I keep hearing about peaceful protests. I hear it about everything. And then I come into an area like this, and I see the town is burned down.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president's visit today spawned even more demonstrations and some confrontations between his supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters.

    He did not meet with Jacob Blake's family. They say the 29-year-old is paralyzed after a Kenosha police officer shot him seven times in the back. Blake's uncle spoke this afternoon.

  • Justin Blake:

    Our nephew was shot seven times in the back. Nothing can justify that. He had no weapon. And he's paralyzed right now in the hospital.

    We don't have any words for the orange man. All I ask is that he keep his disrespect, his foul language far away from our family.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The shooting on August 23 touched off a week of turmoil and almost daily protests.

  • Protester:

    Black lives matter~!

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Many were peaceful gatherings, but some evenings saw fires, vandalism and looting, before Democratic Governor Tony Evers sent in the National Guard.

    City officials estimate the cost of damage to city property so far at nearly $2 million. And, today, Evers announced state loans to assist local businesses. For his part, the president also pledged to provide millions of dollars for small businesses and law enforcement.

    Democrats across Wisconsin repeatedly requested the president not to visit, saying he would only ignite tensions.

  • Narrator:

    This is Trump's America.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    And the national Democratic Party released an ad today that echoed that, blaming President Trump for scenes of violence.

    His meeting with law enforcement today comes after he told FOX News last night that police officers face high-pressure situations. He then compared police shootings to golfing.

  • President Donald Trump:

    They can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do. And one bad apple or a choker — you know, a choker. They choke.

    I mean, in the meantime, he might have been going for a weapon, and you know there's a whole big thing there. But they choke, just like in a golf tournament.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Yesterday, President Trump also defended 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with shooting three people and killing two last Tuesday during the protests.

  • President Donald Trump:

    He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. He was in very big trouble. He would have been — I — he probably would have been killed.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Prosecutors say Rittenhouse shot one person before protesters charged him. They tried to take his gun away before he fired again.

    In that same interview, President Trump also encouraged a baseless conspiracy theory that powerful people in — quote — "dark shadows" were behind the protests.

    Wisconsin Democrats, such as U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan, who represents Madison, condemned the president's words.

  • Rep. Mark Pocan, D- Wis.:

    We don't want people coming in from out of state with guns, acting like vigilantes, thinking that they're running the streets. And yet that is exactly what Donald Trump is promoting, as he promotes his racial division.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The presidents' comments are not the first time he has appeared to condone violence.

    After a woman was killed protesting against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, he said this:

  • President Donald Trump:

    You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    And on the campaign trail in 2016, he said of a protester interrupting a rally:

  • President Donald Trump:

    I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.


  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Back in Kenosha, the family of Jacob Blake led a community cleanup, food drive and voter registration event at the site where he was shot.

    They are still calling for the officer who shot him to be charged.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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