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Joe Biden meets with Jacob Blake’s family after arriving in Wisconsin for Kenosha visit



Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, left, and his wife Jill walk to board a plane at New Castle Airport, in New Castle, Del., on Sept. 3, 2020, en route to Kenosha, Wis. – Carolyn Kaster, AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday met with relatives of Jacob Blake, whose shooting by police sparked violent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Biden and his wife Jill had a private meeting at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport with Blake’s father Jacob Blake Sr., sister Letetra Widman, brother Myron Jackson, sister Zietha Blake and mother Julia Jackson, who attended by phone. Also attending the meeting were members of Blake’s legal team Ben Crump, Patrick Salvi Sr. and B’Ivory LaMarr, on Jacob Blake’s legal team.

Biden was traveling Thursday to meet community leaders and relatives of Blake, in an effort to calm violent protests that erupted after police shot and paralyzed the 29-year-old. Biden didn’t respond to questions shouted from reporters outside the gathering.

Biden’s visit to the key battleground state comes two days after President Donald Trump traveled to Kenosha to tour burned-out buildings damaged in protests that turned into deadly clashes. Two protesters were shot and killed amid the protests and police have charged Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, in the deaths.

The dueling visits highlight the importance of racial justice protests in the final stretch to the Nov. 3 election, demonstrations that swept the country following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Biden has called for justice and healing while Trump decried lawlessness and described himself as the law-and-order president. As Trump sought to restore order in Kenosha, Portland and elsewhere, Biden accused the president of stoking division.

“I’ve always believed we’re at our best when we act as one America,” Biden tweeted Thursday. “It’s time for us to come together, propel our nation across this turbulent threshold, and build a better future for all.”

Biden plans to meet in Kenosha with community leaders and then with Blake’s relatives.

“What we want to do is we’ve got to heal,” Biden said at a Wednesday news conference. “We got to put things together, bring people together.”

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, called Biden’s visit inappropriate as a political candidate, in contrast to the president’s official visit Tuesday.

“This is not the time to be injecting politics into a really serious situation that the president helped solve,” Stepien told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday. “You don’t see many supporters of the president throwing bricks through windows or setting buildings on fire.”

But Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., welcomed Biden to the state with a tweet and said he hopes the former vice president understands what it took to halt rioting in Kenosha.

“I hope he actually views the destruction and starts to understand how devasting it is,” Johnson said.

Trump will campaign in Pennsylvania on Thursday at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, not far from where Biden delivered a speech Monday in Pittsburgh. Like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania is a key battleground state that both campaigns view as key to victory Nov. 3.

Biden leads Trump by 7 points – 50% to 43% – in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, down from a 12-point edge in June. A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Biden is leading Trump by 8 points – 50% to 42% – among likely Wisconsin voters, suggesting the race has not narrowed since the conventions or the unrest in Kenosha.

Biden’s visit to Wisconsin for the first time as the Democratic nominee comes as the campaign spends $45 million this week on broadcast and digital ads across 10 battleground states including Wisconsin. The ads include video from Biden’s Monday speech in Pittsburgh contrasting himself with Trump about how to deal with racial unrest, the economy and COVID-19.

“We can’t turn away. Now is the time for racial justice,” Biden said during the ad titled “We’re listening” slated this weekend for Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. “I believe with every fiber in my being we have such an opportunity now to change people’s lives for the better.”

Courtesy/Source: This article originally appeared on USA TODAY