Rep. Thompson says President Trump is using protests as ’red meat’ to his base

Rep. Thompson says President Trump is using protests as ’red meat’ to his base
Portland police officers walk through the Laurelhurst neighborhood after dispersing protesters from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office early in the morning on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 in Portland, Ore. (Source: AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In an interview with MSNBC over the weekend, Representative Bennie Thompson said that President Trump is using recent protests around the country as “red meat” to his base.

“There’s no question about it,” Thompson stated. “[Trump] is trying to convince people that America is bad, that the only good individuals are those who support Donald Trump and that’s not the case.” He said that for Trump not to talk about “certain individuals” who are doing bad because they are a part of his base is not right.

This after 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with killing two men during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week. Trump has said that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense. “He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like, and he fell. And then they very violently attacked him,” Trump said Monday.

“I abhor violence. Most Democrats I know feel the same way,” Thompson said. “Violence is not a Democratic issue, it’s not a Republican issue. It’s an American issue, so our president needs to get his facts right.”

Rep. Thompson said that the Biden campaign will take the side of “what’s right” and that what he wants to see in Biden, “is a president who will understand exactly what we need here. We need someone with a plan. We need someone who can unify the community.”

He also said that the country needs someone who will, “pick up the phone and call the mayors, call the governors, call the families who are impacted and let them hear from them how he’s concerned about it. My understanding is that the president has yet to call any of the parties impacted by what’s going on in Portland or Kenosha.”

The Trump campaign reached out to Jacob Blake’s family pastor who referred them to the family’s legal team. Trump said he did not want to have lawyers involved, so the call was not made. “I may, at some point... but I just gave my best regards,” Trump said. “But, again, I spoke with the pastor.”

Trump has also urged Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to send federal agents into the city, but, as Wheeler posted on Twitter, “On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks.” He asked Trump to “stay away, please” so the city can come together, “to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic collapse.”

A Trump supporter was killed in the city Saturday evening as protests continue to rage on. According to the Associated Press, Portland has seen nearly 100 consecutive nights of protests - many ending in vandalism to federal and city property, including: police precincts, a county jail, the federal courthouse and City Hall.

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