The Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is on Thursday.
Two days after a visit from President Trump, former Vice President Kenosha, Wisconsin, runs a city that has come into the national spotlight after the police shooting of a black man sparked days of protest and violence. This made the city the newest battlefield in a summer of rioting over police brutality against minorities and racial injustice.
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And Biden’s trip to the crucial general election battlefield state comes as the two presidential candidates repeatedly exchange fires in duel appearances and speeches about the riots ̵
Answering questions from reporters at a campaign rally in his home state of Delaware on Wednesday, Biden said his Kenosha visit was “to bring people together” and “reduce racial tensions”.
Biden stated that he would “hold meetings with community leaders, as well as business people and people in law enforcement, and start talking about what to do.” He is expected to make an additional “local stop”.
And the Biden campaign confirmed that the former vice president would meet with Jacob Blake’s family. The video shown on social media shows an officer shooting seven times in Blake’s back as he reached into his vehicle, where Wisconsin officials later said a knife had been found.
Blake’s young children were in his vehicle at the time. The shooting left Blake paralyzed, according to his father. The August 23 incident sparked days of protests and violence.
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Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said Thursday on Fox and Friends that “the president was there earlier this week as President of the United States. Vice President Biden is here today as a candidate – a political candidate.”
And he warned that “this is not the time to put politics in a really serious situation that the president has resolved.”
And White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern said Wednesday in Fox News’ America’s Newsroom that Biden’s trip was “too little, too late.”
The president toured damaged businesses and met with law enforcement during his visit to Kenosha Tuesday, but did not meet with Blake’s family. Trump claimed Monday he would not meet with them because they wanted lawyers to be involved.
The president praised the prosecution and condemned the protests. He described the outbreak of violence in the city as “domestic terrorism” and escaped answering a question asked about systemic racism. Trump blamed the violence on Democratic officials in Wisconsin and reiterated that if Biden’s president were elected, riots would spread across the country.
In recent weeks the President has increasingly emphasized his issue of law and order. And last week, Biden and his party were called by Trump and Republicans at the GOP Congress last week for failing to mention the riots or looting during the Democratic National Convention last week.
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Prior to his trip, Biden argued again that Trump incited the violence, accusing “this president of throwing gasoline on the fire every place he goes”.
Biden also emphasized that “cops are good, decent, honorable, women and men.”
Pointing out the violence amid the national demonstrations, Biden reiterated that “Protesting is a right and freedom of speech is a right, but doing violence, burning, looting and the rest in the name of protesting is wrong.”
But the Trump re-election campaign, which followed the former Vice President’s comments on Wednesday, showed that Biden was not “condemning Antifa or calling the rioters in our cities what they are: left-wing criminals who had joined the Democrats’ most extreme elements Party.”
Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, who is also a Democrat, urged the President not to come to the city before his visit.
Both Antaramian – in a CNN interview – and the local head of the NAACP have said that no politicians should visit Kenosha right now because of high tension. Evers seems to be calm about Biden’s visit.
Biden noted on Wednesday that “there have been overwhelming requests for me to come.” And he pointed out that “I’ve spent my whole life bringing people together” and said that if he were President, “I would now bring people together in the White House” to ease racial tensions.
Andrew Hitt, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said: “It shouldn’t be necessary for rioters to burn down the city of Kenosha to get Joe Biden to visit our state.”
“Last week, Tony Evers urged the President of the United States not to visit Wisconsin as it would hinder healing,” added Hitt. “Will Governor Evers press Joe Biden to stay away too?”
This will be Biden’s first visit to Wisconsin as his party’s standard bearer. The Democratic National Convention should have been held in Milwaukee, the largest city in the state. However, due to health concerns about holding large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, the convention has been turned into an almost entirely virtual affair.
The President’s visit to Kenosha this week was his third this summer. Democrats ran Wisconsin in presidential elections for a quarter of a century. But Trump just outpaced 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the state four years ago and helped win the electoral college to conquer the White House.
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A new Fox News poll of likely Wisconsin voters released on Wednesday shows that Biden outperforms Trump by 50% to 42%. The poll, conducted August 29 through September 1 and conducted entirely under the GOP convention, also shows that Wisconsin voters trust Biden with a 5-point lead over Trump to help the police and the criminal justice system regulate.
The Biden and Trump campaigns are currently broadcasting television ads in Wisconsin highlighting the unrest and racial injustices.
Kelly Chernenkoff of Fox News contributed to this report.