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'Stay Away': Some Kenosha Residents Respond To Upcoming Trump Visit

Emily Files
Ulises Jimenez and Emma Riedlinger paint murals on boarded building on 22nd Avenue in Kenosha Sunday.

President Donald Trump is set to visit Kenosha Tuesday to meet with law enforcement and to survey damage, after a week of sometimes destructive — and in one case, deadly — protests against police brutality.

But Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is urging Trump to reconsider— saying Kenosha needs calm right now, instead of more division.

>>Trump To Visit Kenosha Tuesday, Potentially Stoking Tensions

Some in Kenosha agree with Evers.

“Stay his butt away,” Violet Spears said. “We don’t need the negativity. For this man to try to divide us this way — we strong. We care, we love. That’s Kenosha.”

Kenosha has been wracked with anger over the last week after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who is now paralyzed from the waist down. On Tuesday night, 17-year-old police supporter Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters.

Credit Emily Files / WUWM
There was a community barbeque and supplies drive in Uptown Kenosha Sunday, in front of a boarded-up Family Dollar store.

Ulises Jimenez said now Kenosha needs to heal. He doesn’t think Trump will help.

“What we need is positivity and we need to come together,” Jimenez said. “I hope it doesn’t create a bigger divide.”

>> Kenosha Mayor Does Not Want President Trump To Visit 'At This Point In Time'

Sunday afternoon in Uptown Kenosha was all about positivity. People painted murals on boarded-up buildings along 22nd Avenue. The community organized a pop-up supplies drive in front of a shuttered Family Dollar store for people in need of groceries and essential items. It was complete with a DJ and a barbeque.

Racine resident Lon Rhinehouse was there with his family. He said he doesn’t think Trump is coming to Kenosha for the right reasons.

“I think he’s just trying to come and show off and make it seem like he did something,” Rhinehouse said. “He want to try to come and win Wisconsin again, you know what that's about.”

Credit Emily Files / WUWM
Two Carthage College grads paint murals on boarded-up businesses on 22nd Avenue in Kenosha.

But some people are backing Trump’s trip.

Andrew Hitt, the chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, told WUWM that he thinks the president’s visit will reassure Kenosha citizens and make them feel safer.

Trump has criticized the situation in Kenosha, claiming unrest will continue in cities led by Democrats if Joe Biden is elected president.

Emily is WUWM's education reporter and a news editor.
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