Sep 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump defends police, dismisses "systemic racism" in visit to Kenosha

Asked during his visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tuesday whether "systemic racism is a problem" in the U.S., President Trump told a reporter: "Well you know, you just keep getting back to the opposite subject. We should talk about the kind of violence that we’ve seen in Portland and here and other places."

The big picture: Trump used his trip to Kenosha, where violent protests had erupted in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, to stress his support for law enforcement and denunciation of riots by people he called "domestic terrorists."

  • He acknowledged that there are "bad apples" within law enforcement and said that some police officers "choke sometimes" because they are under "tremendous pressure."
  • The president did not address the root causes of the anti-racism protests that have continued throughout the country over the past few months, suggesting that some people want "structural change" but that most people want "law and order" and to feel safe.

What he's saying: "We should talk about the kind of violence that we've seen in Portland and here and other places. It's tremendous violence. You always get to the other side, well what do you think about this or that? The fact is we have seen tremendous violence, and we will put it out very quickly if given the chance."

  • "I keep hearing about peaceful protests, I hear it about everything. And then I come into an area like this and I see the town is burned down."
  • "It's a tough job. It's a tough job, a dangerous job, but I have to say this to the police: The people of our country love you."

In photos

President Donald Trump tours an area affected by civil unrest in Kenosha
President Trump tours an area affected by civil unrest in Kenosha. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump, with US Attorney General William Barr, speaks to the press in Kenosha
Trump, with Attorney General William Barr, speaks to the press in Kenosha. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks with officials at a high school in Kenosha
Trump speaks with officials at Mary D. Bradford High School in Kenosha. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks with officials
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters demonstrate in Kenosha holding a sign that says "trump/Pence #OutNow"
Protesters demonstrate in Kenosha during Trump's visit. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
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