As President Trump Visits Kenosha Again, Some Voters Say He's A Divider

Nov 2, 2020

Incumbent Donald Trump will make his final Wisconsin visit of the 2020 presidential campaign Monday night at the airport in Kenosha.

The president talks about Kenosha at many events, referring to the civil unrest that occurred in late August after a Kenosha police officer, Rustin Sheskey, severely wounded a Black man, Jacob Blake, as police were responding to what they say was a domestic incident.   

In Green Bay on Oct. 30, Trump took credit for the Kenosha unrest ending a few nights after it began, arguing the disputed point that he helped bring in National Guard troops.

"We came in and that was over in about another 15 minutes, right? That didn't take long. That didn't take long, and we saved Kenosha. So, you still have Kenosha,” Trump said, to cheers.

What Kenosha still has (as of Sunday afternoon when a WUWM reporter toured parts of the city), is a few burned out buildings on the near west side and burned cars in two used car lots near downtown. Plus, boards are still on many downtown and west side windows because building owners fear more unrest if Sheskey isn't charged with a crime.

There's also concern about violence during the presumed Kenosha trial for the Illinois teenager charged with fatally shooting two Black Lives Matter protesters and wounding a third in Kenosha two nights after Blake was hurt. The accused shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was ordered last Friday to be extradited from Illinois to Kenosha.

Kenosha's downtown trolley has resumed operation. Here, it passes in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse, which still has boards on the front door windows.
Credit Chuck Quirmbach

Standing on a downtown sidewalk, Kenosha resident Jonathan Williams remembered when Trump came to the city a few days after the men were killed.

"If anything, I feel like he divided it even more. He brought up a lot of the problems with poorer neighborhoods and just more white privilege, I feel like,” said Williams, adding he supports Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The downtown Kenosha post office also has boarded windows, while a sticker on a utility box expresses opposition to President Trump and Vice President Pence.
Credit Chuck Quirmbach

Another Kenosha resident, Julia Heiser, says Monday night, the president just wants more votes from a county he very narrowly won in 2016. 

"I really think he's here to stir up more trouble and divide our county even more. I don't think he has anything good to say. He's being detrimental to our county, and I don't want him here,” Heiser said, adding she's already voted against Trump.

There are those voters who say they like the president’s law and order message. Trump is expected to reach out to them when he speaks Monday night in Kenosha.