The owner of a destroyed shop in Kenosha refused to pose with Trump – so they brought in the old owner – The Independent

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Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday to survey businesses damaged by recent unrest over the shooting of Jacob Blake — but he was unable to convince all the owners to pose with him.

And when one owner in particular refused to take part in Mr Trump’s appearance, the president’s team instead welcomed the previous owner as if he were the current one.

According to local station TMJ-4, Tom Gram, of the burned-out Rode’s Camera Shop, rejected a request from the White House to meet the president on camera, later telling the station he wanted no part in an appearance he expected would “turn into a circus”.

But instead of leaving the shop out of Mr Trump’s stop, the White House team invited the previous owner, John Rode III, who was introduced by the president as if he currently owned the store — which Mr Gram bought from him eight years ago.

Mr Rode posed with a picture of the 109-year-old store and thanked Mr Trump for coming to see the damage, as well as for sending federal troops to calm the violence in the city. He also appeared later in the day at a roundtable with the president and attorney general Bill Barr, at which Mr Trump repeatedly complained about the Wisconsin governor’s reticence to call for federal help during the protests.

Mr Gram, meanwhile, told TMJ-4 that he had a different message for Mr Trump: “Do your job.”

“I think he needs to bring this country together rather than divide it,” he said.

The protests in Kenosha are some of the most intense of the summer, coming after months of unrest across the US sparked by the death of George Floyd. Numerous businesses have been damaged by fire; others have been sprayed with graffiti and had their windows smashed in.

The Kenosha police have said they arrested 175 people last week, around a third of them for violating a curfew.

Among them was Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old who arrived from Illinois with an assault rifle and shot two people dead. He was one of numerous self-styled “militiamen” who had answered a call from a right-wing group to come and help police the protests.

Video emerged after the shooting showing police officers handing out water to one such group and thanking them for their help.

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