The scale of destruction waiting for Donald Trump in Kenosha: Aerial images show ‘$30million-worth’ of damage to riot-stricken city that the president will visit TODAY with message of ‘law and order’
- City of Kenosha, 30 miles south of Milwaukee, is preparing for President Donald Trump to visit on Tuesday
- Large parts of uptown neighborhood are still in ruins following riots sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake
- Trump is expected to use the visit to hammer home his ‘law and order’ message as November election looms
- Wisconsin leaders urged Trump to stay away amid ‘concerns’ his presence will set back efforts to restore calm
- Mayor has requested $30million in state aid to help repair the damage, as city continue to count the cost
Burned-out stores, a torched parking lot and National Guardsmen walking the streets – these are the scenes of Kenosha that Donald Trump will use as the backdrop for a campaign event as he visits Wisconsin today.
The president is expected to hammer home his ‘law and order’ campaign message when he arrives around 1pm EST, meeting with members of local law enforcement and surveying damage caused by three days of rioting sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
While city is still counting the cost of the disturbance, the mayor has requested $30million in state aid to help repair the damage.
Trump insisted on coming to the state despite the objections of both Democratic governor Tony Evers and city mayor John Antaramian, amid ‘concerns’ that his presence will set back efforts to restore calm.
Large parts of Kenosha’s uptown neighborhood – where many of the city’s black and Hispanic residents live – were damaged or destroyed by rioters between August 23, the day of Blake’s shooting, and August 25, when two protesters were shot dead.
Buildings that were gutted by fires during three nights of rioting in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, are seen from the air ahead of a visit by Donald Trump which is due to take place today
Trump has vowed to visit the city to hammer home a message of ‘law and order’ as the November election looms, despite the Democrat governor and mayor urging him to stay away
Out-of-towners have been blamed for the majority of the burning and violence that took place in Kenosha, following the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake on August 23
The majority of the damage in Kenosha is concentrated in the city’s uptown neighborhood, where a large portion of black and Hispanic residents live and where the courthouse in located, which was a focal point for the protests
The interior of burned-out businesses in Kenosha are seen from the air after being targeted by rioters and looters in three nights of unrest that roiled the city last week
Out-of-towners have been blamed for the majority of the rioting and the violence. The Kenosha sheriff’s department says that, of the 175 people arrested during the riots, 102 of them have addresses outside the city.
Groups of armed ‘vigilantes’ who then arrived to ‘protect’ businesses from the rioters were also thought to be from outside the area – including 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was behind Tuesday night’s fatal shooting.
Rittenhouse, who is now in jail charged with murder, had traveled to Kenosha from Illinois, telling journalists he was there to ‘help people’ and ‘protect businesses’ before opening fire.
Protests have continued in Kenosha following the shooting, but have remained largely peaceful. A night-time curfew has been put in place.
Trump has defended Rittenhouse, saying that he was ‘violently attacked’ by Black Lives Matter protesters and ‘probably would have been killed’ if he hadn’t shot at them.
Witnesses say protesters attempted to tackle Rittenhouse after he began shooting. Video shows the teenager firing at activists after being thrown to the floor, but does not show what started the confrontation.
Antaramian has asked for $30million of aid to repair the damage caused by the rioting, with at leas $2million of state property – including garbage trucks that were used to block roads – damaged, Kenosha News reports.
A hand-painted sign reading ‘KenoshaStrong’ is seen outside the remains of a business which was torched and subsequently collapsed amid rioting in the city, sparked by the shooting of an unarmed black man
A car dealership in Kenosha’s uptown was one of the first businesses to be targeted, with the owners estimating that $1.5million in damage was caused by a fire that was ignited in their sales lot (pictured)
Two men pick their way across destroyed cars in the parking lot of a dealership in Kenosha, that was burned down during the first night of rioting on August 23
A furniture store that had been run by a family for 40 years was also completely destroyed (pictured) by a fire that was lit on the second night of rioting in the city
The inside of another destroyed business is seen in the city of Kenosha, as the mayor revealed he has asked for $30million in state aid fund to help repair the damage to his city
The owners of a car dealership that was torched on the first night of rioting say up to 100 vehicles were destroyed, at an estimated cost of $1million
The owners of a car salesroom that was torched on August 23 told Fox News that the fire will cost them $1.5million, including almost $1million that went up in smoke when 100 cars in their lot caught ablaze.
The following night a large furniture store was also sent up in flames, with owner Linda Carpenter filmed weeping at the site of the destroyed business, which she had run for 40 years.
Also targeted was the Community Corrections Division building, which was set alight and ultimately collapsed.
The White House said Sunday evening Trump still plans to make his visit despite governor Evers sending a letter requesting he stay away.
‘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,’ Trump’s Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said.
He added: ‘President Trump looks forward to visiting on Tuesday and helping this great city heal and rebuild.’
Evers, a Democrat, said Sunday in a letter to President Trump that he is not welcome in Kenosha.
He urged him to reconsider his trip, writing: ‘I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state.’
President Donald Trump is due in Kenosha around 1pm Tuesday where he is expected to meet with law enforcement, despite the city mayor and state governor asking him to stay away
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (left) and Kenosha mayor John Antaramian (right) have both asked Trump to stay away from the city, amid ‘concerns’ that his presence will set back efforts to restore calm
The protests were sparked when Jacob Blake (left) was shot seven times in the back by police as he tried to get into his car (right). Officers say he fought with them, and shrugged off two attempts to subdue him with a Taser
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, from Illinois, is in jail charged with murder after shooting dead two Black Lives Matter protesters and injuring a third in Kenosha on the night of August 25
Trump has spoken out in defence of Rittenhouse, saying he was attacked by the protesters an ‘probably would have been killed’ unless he opened fire on them with an AR-15 that he was illegally carrying
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, also a Democrat, is hoping the president will not stop by his riot-torn city on Tuesday.
‘While presidents are always welcome to come to this great city, this is not the best time for a visit,’ Antaramian said in a statement Sunday.
‘We are hurting today and we are focused on healing, coming together as a community and rebuilding. There is a lot of listening we need to do in Kenosha and I worry that a visit from the president will delay this important work.’
Trump had also attempted to arrange a meeting with the family of Jacob Blake, whose calls for calm in the wake of his shooting ultimately fell on deaf ears. No such meeting had been scheduled as of Tuesday.
Blake remains in hospital after being shot seven times in the back by an officer as he attempted to get into his car.
Police say they were called to the scene by Blake’s partner, who told them he should not have been on her property. Blake’s three children were in his car when he was shot.
Video shows officers with their guns on Blake, shouting at him as he walks around the side of the car and opens the driver door, before attempting to get in.
Police say a knife was subsequently found in the driver’s side door. An investigation into the shooting is underway, and all three officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.