Jacob Blake Sr. said he refuses to “play politics” ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit on Tuesday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a white police officer shot Blake’s 29-year-old son seven times in the back last week.
“I’m not going to play politics. This is my son’s life we are talking about,” he said Monday in an interview with CNN. “I am not getting into politics. It is all about my son, man. It has nothing to do with a photo-op. It has to do with Jacob’s operation.”
Trump is visiting the city despite the objections of local and state leaders, including Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian (D) and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D). Both have argued Trump’s presence would cause more harm than good.
“I am disappointed he is coming. Our community has gone through a great deal,” Antaramian said Monday. “At this time, it’s just the wrong time. It’s a time for us to heal.”
Evers sent Trump a letter on Sunday that read in part: “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.”
Trump said Monday that he would not meet with the Blakes because they “wanted to have lawyers involved, and I thought that was inappropriate.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, told CNN: “I don’t know why the president wouldn’t want the family to have their lawyers on the phone. He seems to have lawyers with him when he talks to people.”
“The family’s primary objectives are to support Jacob’s recovery and to ensure justice for him,” Crump said in a statement.
All summer, demonstrators across the country have protested racism and police violence against Black people, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The protests have again swelled in the week since the police shooting of Blake. He has been left paralyzed from the waist down and “holding on for dear life,” his father said Monday.
Blake Sr. also said the family has “received some threats,” and that his younger son has been hospitalized for depression.
“It’s saddening to me that people don’t understand the type of pressure this family is under, and what the rest of the family is dealing with,” he said.