Justin Blake, speaking on behalf of the family of the 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said that Jacob Blake’s father has “no interest” in speaking with President Donald Trump — adding that the family’s main goals were Blake’s health and obtaining justice.
“President Trump is a racist who stokes racial tensions,” Blake’s uncle told CNN. “He has been stirring racial tensions since he got in the White House. Why, as Jacob’s uncle, would I want to talk to him? Our focus is on Jacob and healing the community,” Justin Blake said.
The comments come as President Donald Trump expressed at a news conference Monday that he did not plan to meet with the Blake family during his Wisconsin visit Tuesday because they wanted to involve lawyers.
“I thought it would be better not to do anything where there were lawyers involved,” Trump said, adding: “They wanted to have lawyers involved and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that.”
While he declined speaking in a context that involved lawyers, Trump said that he had spoken with the pastor of Blake’s mother, adding, “I did just give my best regards.”
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Blake family, told CNN’s Jim Acosta when asked about the presence of legal counsel that it was routine practice. “He seems to have lawyers with him when he talks to people,” Crump said of the President.
Blake’s father told Acosta on Monday that he was “not going to play politics,” and later added that his son’s operation and healing “has nothing to do with a photo-op.”
Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the President had plans to meet with local law enforcement and some business owners, and he’ll “survey the damage,” following nights of protest adding that additional details were forthcoming.
Trump’s visit to the battleground state is part of an intensifying campaign to condemn parts of the country as dangerous because they are run by Democrats. The President has assumed no personal responsibility for encouraging a deeply divisive climate through culture wars and race-baiting over the past three and a half years.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) had pleaded with Trump in a letter ahead of the visit requesting that that Trump not visit Kenosha based on concern that Trump’s presence “will only hinder our healing” and “delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
On Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden fired back at Trump’s tactical attack on Democrat-run cities and states in the aftermath of Blake’s shooting, saying that the President has sought to foment violence. Biden accused the President of “rooting for chaos and violence,” under the guise of law and order.