President Donald Trump walked the ruins of Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday, calling the rioters who burned down the city domestic terrorists.
“These are not acts of peaceful protest but, really, domestic terror,” the president said during a community safety roundtable after touring a stretch of the city.
“The fact is that we’ve seen tremendous violence and we will put it out very, very quickly if given the chance. That’s what this is all about. Yeah, I keep hearing about peaceful protests,” he said. “Then I come into an area like this and I see the town is burned down. I mean, you look at Minneapolis, they should have acted much quicker. When we got the National Guard in there, it took literally a half an hour.”
The president then claimed the Minneapolis Police Department wasn’t allowed to put an end to the late May riots.
“They have a very good police department, but they weren’t allowed. Now they want to break it up. They want to end it. They don’t want to have a police department. They want to not only defund it, they want to get rid of it. It’s ridiculous,” he continued.
Trump said he thinks “peaceful protesting is great,” but mocked the media for describing the events in Kenosha and other cities as peaceful.
“They just don’t ask for the help. They refuse to allow us to go in and help them. And by the time you get there the place is disintegrated. And then they say it’s a peaceful protest,” he said, noting that the law enforcement response in Wisconsin was “an example of what can happen when you do it right.”
Kenosha, Wisconsin, we’re with you all the way! pic.twitter.com/Xs49PEu4AP
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2020
The president said the federal government plans to provide $4 million to help local businesses rebuild, and a total of $42 million to support public safety statewide.
Most of the money will come from grants provided by the Department of Justice, said U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who accompanied the president on his trip to Kenosha.
“Thanks to the efforts of federal law enforcement and the National Guard, working closely with our state and local partners, the streets of Kenosha have been restored from violent agitators who have abused their First Amendment rights to frighten citizens and fan the flames of disorder,” Barr said in a press release. “As President Trump made abundantly clear today, this lawless behavior will not be allowed to stand and the federal government will provide the necessary resources to help state and local police officers who have worked hard to maintain peace and keep violence at bay.”
After the Trump administration rejected Gov. Tim Walz’s request for federal disaster aid to help rebuild Minneapolis, Rep. Tom Emmer said he asked the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate “how half of a billion dollars in damage was done without an appropriate response from our local leaders.”