Evers on Trump visit: ‘I write today to respectfully ask you to reconsider’

Former President Donald Trump

MADISON, Wis. — In a letter released by his office Sunday afternoon, Gov. Tony Evers asked President Trump to reconsider his planned visit to Kenosha in the wake of protests and the shooting of Jacob Blake.

“I understand yesterday you indicated you would be visiting Kenosha, and according to pool reports last night, that you intend to visit Kenosha this Tuesday,” the letter said. “I write today to respectfully ask you to reconsider.

“When I visited Kenosha last week, what I saw was a community working to deal with the trauma and pain of these events and extreme loss. They are exhausted and heartbroken with the division that has ripped apart their community, but they are also already working to rebuild, together, and support each other in the face of adversity.”

The governor said it is the job of elected officials to “lead by example and be a calming presence,” and said it is “not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state instigators who want to contribute to our anguish.” Evers was likely referring to Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Illinois who has been charged with several counts of first-degree homicide after two people were killed in Kenosha on Tuesday night. Trump said Saturday he would have no comment at this time on Rittenhouse’s actions.

“As governor, I will continue to support the Kenosha community as well as the people across our state who are demanding police accountability and transparency reform. This work cannot wait, which is why I have called the Wisconsin legislature to come to work on Monday and take up a policing accountability and transparency reform package. I would welcome your support of these initiatives.”

Evers’ comments come just hours after Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes appeared on CNN and said “we don’t need that right now,” when asked about Trump’s visit.

“You look at the incendiary remarks that the President has made, they centered an entire convention around creating more animosity and creating more division around what is going on in Kenosha,” Barnes told CNN’s John King on “Inside Politics.”

“So, I don’t know how given any of the previous statements that the President made that he intends to come here to be helpful. And we absolutely don’t need that right now.”

“For the reasons above, I urge you to revisit your decision to visit Kenosha on Tuesday. Thank you for your time and your consideration of this request.”

In a statement to CNN on Sunday night, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the president still plans on visiting.

“The White house has been humbled by the outreach of individuals from Kenosha who have welcomed the president’s visit and are longing for leadership to support local law enforcement and businesses that have been vandalized,” Deere said.

Kenosha is the latest city at the center of racial unrest after Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back seven times by a White police officer. Local officials have not discussed many details about Blake’s shooting but continue addressing the nightly protests in Kenosha, especially after two people at a protest were killed and a third was seriously injured this week.

A 17-year-old was arrested Wednesday and is facing multiple charges involving several people for his alleged role in a shooting incident, authorities said.

When asked if the President would meet with Blake’s family, White House spokesman Judd Deere said that the schedule hasn’t been fully ironed out yet.