U.S. Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about safety in America during a campaign appearance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 31, 2020.
Alan Freed | Reuters
Joe Biden will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday — his first visit to the crucial swing state this year and two days after President Donald Trump appeared there.
The Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign said Biden will hold a community meeting “to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face.”
Biden’s wife, Jill, will also travel to Kenosha, the campaign said. The two will make a “local stop” after the community meeting, the campaign said.
The trip comes as the city remains in the national spotlight because of the shooting last month of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by a White police officer in the city.
Blake was shot seven times in the back during the Aug. 23 arrest that is now the subject of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Trump traveled to Kenosha on Tuesday despite the protests of local officials and the state’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who said that the president’s visit would only serve to further inflame tensions.
Two people were shot to death and one seriously wounded at one of the Kenosha protests following the Blake shooting. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged in the shootings at the demonstration.
Trump surveyed damage at the sites of the recent demonstrations and held a roundtable event in which he praised law enforcement, condemned looting and repeated his attacks on what he called “Democrat cities.”
Trump said he did not meet with Blake’s family because they wanted to have a lawyer present. Biden’s campaign did not say whether the Democratic nominee will meet with the family.
Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have spoken with the family by telephone, the family’s attorney Ben Crump said over the weekend.
Biden, who has denounced looting and rioting, has accused Trump of seeking to use protests against police brutality to divide the country and increase animosity.
Biden sounded those themes on Monday during an address in Pittsburgh. Parts of his visit were turned into a new nationwide ad that the campaign said would roll out in key swing states including Wisconsin.
“Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting, it’s lawlessness, plain and simple,” the former vice president said in the speech. “And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way.”
Trump narrowly beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin in 2016, but Biden has been leading him in recent polls in the state. Clinton infamously did not visit Wisconsin in 2016.
Biden is also ahead of Trump in national surveys, though his margin in some state and national surveys has declined somewhat in recent days.
A CNBC/Change Research poll from August found Biden leading Trump narrowly in Wisconsin, 49-46, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points.