After some high-profile and deadly clashes between rioters and people seeking to defend property from destruction, President Donald Trump urged his supporters to allow law enforcement to handle riots and not to take matters into their own hands.
During an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, the president seemed to try to tone down some of the conflict between citizens in the streets of numerous American cities.
"Do you want your supporters to confront the left-wing protesters, or do you want to leave it to law enforcement?" Ingraham asked the president.
"No. No, no, I don't want them. I want to leave it to law enforcement," Trump responded. "But my supporters are wonderful, hard-working, tremendous people. And they turn on their television set, and they look at a Portland, or they look at a Kenosha, before I got involved and stopped it, or they look at Chicago, where 78 people were shot last weekend and numerous people died, or they look at New York, where violence is up by like, what? 150%. … They're looking at all of this, and they can't believe it."
A Trump supporter was killed in Portland during a protest, and the suspect in that case identified himself as being a member of Antifa.
President Trump angered some of his opponents by not condemning Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Trump supporter from Illinois who has been charged with two homicides for allegedly shooting two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin during riots.
"I guess he was in very big trouble," Trump said when asked about Rittenhouse. "He would have been, he probably would have been killed. But it's under — it's under investigation."
The president is traveling to Kenosha on Tuesday to meet with law enforcement officials and survey the severe damage that was causes last week by days of riots that left entire city blocks burned to the ground.
This latest round of national unrest was triggered by the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The shooting is still under investigation, but police have said they were attempting to arrest Blake for his involvement in a domestic disturbance and for a third-degree sexual assault warrant. Blake resisted arrest and was shot seven times in the back when he reached into his car. Police say they found a knife near where he was reaching.