Updated Sep 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden to visit Kenosha, meet Jacob Blake's family on Thursday

Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, plan to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday, where they will hold a "community meeting" to "bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face" before making a local stop in the city, his campaign announced. They also plan to meet with Jacob Blake Sr. and other members of the Blake family, per a Biden campaign official.

Why it matters: The visit will come two days after President Trump made a trip to Kenosha against the wishes of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) to tour damage from the violent protests that erupted after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Trump spent much of his Tuesday visit defending law enforcement and attacking "left-wing violence."

What he's saying: Asked at a press conference Wednesday why he is visiting Kenosha, given that some local leaders had asked both candidates to stay away, Biden said he has spoken "to all the leaders there," other than the governor, and that there has been "overwhelming request that I do come."

  • "Because what we want do is, we gotta heal. We gotta put things together and bring people together. My purpose in going will be to do just that, to be a positive influence on what's going on," Biden said.
  • "This is about making sure that we move forward. I've gotten advice from sitting members of the Congress and the Senate, as well, to go. ... I'm not going to meetings with community leaders, as well as businesspeople and other folks in law enforcement, and start to talk about what has to be done."

The big picture: This will be the Democratic nominee's first trip to Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the 2020 election that Trump won in 2016. In a speech earlier this week, Biden forcefully condemned riots and accused Trump of "rooting for chaos and violence" to bolster his law-and-order campaign message.

  • "I want to be very clear: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness. Plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted," Biden said.
  • He continued: “I want a safe America. Safe from COVID. Safe from crime and looting, safe from racially-motivated violence, safe from bad cops. Let me be crystal clear. Safe from four more years of Donald Trump."

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