Owner of burned out Kenosha business declined Trump’s request for a photo opp so was replaced

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The real owner of a burned out Kenosha business declined Donald Trump‘s request for a photo opportunity at his store ‘because everything he does turns into a circus’ – only to be replaced by another man who hasn’t owned the store for eight years.

Tom Gram, owner of Rode’s Camera Shop in uptown Kenosha which was destroyed during unrest last week, said he refused to participate in the president’s PR stunt as Trump did the rounds in the city Tuesday.  

The businessman, who has owned the camera shop for eight years, was then shocked to see the previous owner posing on TV as the distraught owner in front of his burned-out store and praising the president for coming to the city’s rescue. 

Gram slammed Trump for using his shop for political gain and misleading voters by using a stand in for him in order to drum up support ahead of the November election. 

This marks the latest controversial staged photo opp from the president after his infamous Bible snaps outside a Washington DC church back in June – despite the president’s own rhetoric around the so-called ‘fake news’ agenda.

The real owner of a burned out Kenosha business declined Donald Trump's request for a photo opportunity at his store 'because everything he does turns into a circus' - only to be replaced by another man who hasn't owned the store for eight years. Pictured Trump's photo op with John Rode III - the former not current owner of the burned out store

The real owner of a burned out Kenosha business declined Donald Trump’s request for a photo opportunity at his store ‘because everything he does turns into a circus’ – only to be replaced by another man who hasn’t owned the store for eight years. Pictured Trump’s photo op with John Rode III – the former not current owner of the burned out store

Rode’s Camera Shop, which dates back to 1911, was destroyed last week during unrest sparked by the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake who was gunned down by cops in front of his three young children. 

The store windows were smashed, looters stole merchandise and it was set alight.

The White House reached out to Gram Monday asking him to pose with the president outside the damaged store during Trump’s controversial trip to Kenosha Tuesday afternoon.

Gram told TMJ4 he immediately turned down the request because he didn’t want to be involved in Trump’s ‘circus’. 

‘I think everything [Trump] does turns into a circus and I just didn’t want to be involved in it,’ Gram told TMJ4.

But rather than miss out on a chance for publicity, the real owner was simply replaced by a ‘fake’ business owner who stood next to Trump and heaped praise on the president for ‘calming things down’.

Gram told TMJ4 of his surprise when he saw on TV the man he bought the business off eight years ago – John Rode III – posing outside his store and being introduced by Trump as the owner.  

‘John Rode III, owner of Rode’s Camera Shop,’ Trump said as he introduced Rode. 

The real owner: Tom Gram (pictured), owner of Rode's Camera Shop in uptown Kenosha which was destroyed during unrest last week, said he refused to participate in the president's PR stunt as Trump did the rounds in the city Tuesday

The real owner: Tom Gram (pictured), owner of Rode’s Camera Shop in uptown Kenosha which was destroyed during unrest last week, said he refused to participate in the president’s PR stunt as Trump did the rounds in the city Tuesday

Rode's Camera Shop was destroyed last week during unrest sparked by the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake who was gunned down by cops in front of his three young children. The store is pictured engulfed in flames

 Rode’s Camera Shop was destroyed last week during unrest sparked by the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake who was gunned down by cops in front of his three young children. The store is pictured engulfed in flames

Before

After

Rode’s Camera Shop pictured before (left) and after (right) the unrest in Kenosha

Rode told the cameras: ‘I just appreciate President Trump coming today, everybody here does.

‘We’re so thankful we got the federal troops here. Once they got here things did calm down quite a bit.’

Trump responded with: ‘A day earlier would have saved his store.’

Gram bought Rode’s Camera Shop from the Rode family eight years ago after he worked there for more than four decades. 

Rode still owns the property where the store is located – at 2204 Roosevelt Road in Kenosha – but not the business. 

Gram slammed Trump for deceiving the American public and for using his battered business to try to claw in voters. 

He told TMJ4 he was disappointed Rode’s comments have been framed as representing the views of a hard-hit business owner – something he points out is not the case.  

‘I think he needs to bring this country together rather than divide it,’ Gram said of Trump.

Gram, who has owned the camera shop for eight years, was then shocked to see the previous owner posing on TV as the distraught owner in front of his burned-out store and praising the president for coming to the city's rescue. Pictured Trump's photo opp

Gram, who has owned the camera shop for eight years, was then shocked to see the previous owner posing on TV as the distraught owner in front of his burned-out store and praising the president for coming to the city’s rescue. Pictured Trump’s photo opp

Gram slammed Trump for using his shop for political gain and misleading voters by using a stand in for him in order to drum up support ahead of the November election. The staged images

Gram slammed Trump for using his shop for political gain and misleading voters by using a stand in for him in order to drum up support ahead of the November election. The staged images

‘I think there’s a lot of good people in this community and to say that only law enforcement is correct is not the message we need to hear right now.’

The White House told DailyMail.com Rode’s family founded the century-old business before World War II and still owns the building that houses the damaged store. 

This isn’t the first time Trump, who regularly hits out at what he calls ‘fake news’, has come under fire for misleading the public with staged photos.  

Trump amassed widespread criticism back in June when he marched from the White House to the historic St. John’s Church for the no infamous three-minute photo op.

It later emerged that peaceful protesters demonstrating over the ‘murder’ of George Floyd were tear gassed and shot with rubber pellets out of the way so Trump could pose with a Bible.

Australian officials launched an investigation after journalists were injured by the federal agents, the bishop of the diocese said they were not told about the visit and Trump ‘didn’t even pray’, and several White House officials tried to distance themselves from the saga.

This isn't the first time Trump, who regularly hits out at what he calls 'fake news', has come under fire for misleading the public with staged photos. Trump amassed widespread criticism back in June when he marched from the White House to the historic St. John's Church for the no infamous three-minute photo op

This isn’t the first time Trump, who regularly hits out at what he calls ‘fake news’, has come under fire for misleading the public with staged photos. Trump amassed widespread criticism back in June when he marched from the White House to the historic St. John’s Church for the no infamous three-minute photo op 

Trump’s latest photo shoot came as he ignored the request of local officials not to visit Kenosha this week.

‘I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state,’ Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers wrote in a letter to Trump. 

‘I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.’ 

His visit was also unwelcome news to the family of Blake, who said they did not want to meet the president. 

Justin Blake, Blake’s uncle, told CNN Blake’s father ‘has no interest in speaking with President Trump.’  

‘President Trump is a racist who stokes racial tensions. He has been stirring racial tensions since he got in the White House. 

‘Why, as Jacob’s uncle, would I want to talk to him? Our focus is on Jacob and healing the community,’ he said.

Protests erupted in Kenosha last week following Blake’s shooting which marked the latest in a string of recent incidents where black men and women have been killed or seriously injured by cops across America. 

Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white cop in front of his three young children on August 23, leaving the father-of-six paralyzed from the waist down.  

On the third night of protests in the city last Tuesday, a white 17-year-old shot dead two unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters and injured a third man.  

On Wednesday afternoon 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with murder over the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26.

Jacob Blake (pictured) was shot seven times in the back by a cop in front of his three young children August 23

Jacob Blake (pictured) was shot seven times in the back by a cop in front of his three young children August 23

The image above shows the moment a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer fired at least seven shots into the back of Jacob Blake as he was getting into an SUV in a residential neighborhood

The image above shows the moment a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer fired at least seven shots into the back of Jacob Blake as he was getting into an SUV in a residential neighborhood

Kyle Rittenhouse's (pictured Tuesday night) shot dead two unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters and injured a third man in the streets of Kenosha last Tuesday

Kyle Rittenhouse’s (pictured Tuesday night) shot dead two unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters and injured a third man in the streets of Kenosha last Tuesday

The police-obsessed Trump supporter shot Rosenbaum five times including in the head, the criminal complaint reveals, before calling a friend to tell them ‘I’ve killed someone’.

He also allegedly shot activist Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm. 

Outrage is building nationwide as people draw comparisons between the treatment of the illegally armed 17-year-old who had allegedly shot dead two men and injured another and the treatment of Blake by cops.  

Shocking video footage appears to show Rittenhouse casually walk past cops and leave the scene with his rifle slung over his shoulder and his hands in the air following his alleged shooting rampage. 

Blake was not armed with a gun when he was shot seven times in the back in front of his children two days earlier.  

On Monday, Trump defended the actions of Rittenhouse saying he ‘probably would have been killed’ by an angry mob if he hadn’t fired at them with the illegal gun he was carrying.

‘He was trying to get away from them I guess, it looks like, and he fell on then they very violently attacked him,’ Trump said in response to a question from DailyMail.com on Monday.

‘It was something that we are looking at right now and it’s under investigation, but I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would’ve been killed. It’s under investigation,’ he added during his press briefing.   

Demonstrators raise their fist in the air, in front of law enforcement last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the shooting of Blake

Demonstrators raise their fist in the air, in front of law enforcement last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the shooting of Blake 

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