President Donald Trump will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, a city that has seen violent — and sometimes deadly — riots after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23. Although the Trump administration has reached out to Blake’s family for a potential meeting, at least one member of the family is not interested, according to the Washington Post.
Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., told the Post on Friday that he’s not even interested in a call with the president at this point.
“I’ve already talked to President Biden,” Blake Sr. told the Post’s Dave Weigel.
Jacob Blake’s father told me on Friday that it was too late for Trump to call him and “I’ve already talked to President Biden.” https://t.co/W923twh3ul— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 31, 2020
A meeting with at least some members of Blake’s family seems possible still, with the White House claiming to have unsuccessfully reached out ahead of Trump’s visit to Kenosha.
“We are efforting outreach, have not been able to connect yet,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, according to The Hill. “So tomorrow the plan is so far to go and to meet with law enforcement and to look at the damage from the riots, but we are holding his family close to our hearts.”
Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney who is representing Blake’s family, claimed no one from the White House had reached out to them.
“My office has received no calls to set up any kind of meeting,” Crump told MSNBC.
However, a White House communications staffer refuted Crump on Twitter, saying White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had left messages with the family and had spoken multiple times with the pastor of Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother.
Mr. Crump may be misinformed, but this is false. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has reached out on behalf of POTUS and left multiple messages with the family since last week. He's also spoken several times with Julia Jackson's pastor, as recently as this morning. https://t.co/LHIvvN8URA— Ben Williamson (@_WilliamsonBen) August 31, 2020
Recapping what happened
Blake was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha Police Department officer on Aug. 23. Video of the shooting went viral sparking local protests and national outrage.
The narrative surrounding the shooting began with a claim that Blake had been attempting to break up a fight between two women when he was shot, but has evolved with additional information to paint a different picture.
Blake was charged with third-degree sexual assault in July, and had a warrant out for his arrest. The woman who accused him of the assault called 911 on Aug. 23 because Blake was at her home despite a restraining order. Police were reportedly aware of the warrant when they responded to the scene. Blake attempted to resist arrest, fighting with multiple police officers who reportedly attempted to subdue him with a stun gun, but failed.
During the altercation, Blake opened the driver’s side door of his vehicle and leaned inside. That’s when an officer shot him in the back. Police found a knife on the floor of the vehicle. Blake’s three children were also in the car when he was shot. Blake survived the shooting, but a family member said he is paralyzed from the waist down.
In the days following the shooting, Kenosha was ravaged with riots as people — many of them from out of town — caused havoc and burned down buildings. Two people were shot and killed by a 17-year-old teenager from Illinois who said he came to the city to help protect property from rioters. The teen has been charged with intentional homicide and reckless homicide.
President Trump plans to tour the city this week to see the damage and meet with local law enforcement. Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have attempted to blame the chaos in Kenosha on each other. Biden currently has no plans to visit Kenosha.