KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — In his visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday, President Donald Trump saw firsthand some of the businesses that were burned out there during civil unrest last week, following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police.
As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, the president announced financial support for Kenosha and Wisconsin on his visit, including $4 million to help rebuild businesses like B&L Office Furniture – which was among those destroyed by fire.
The owner of B&L Office Furniture, Scott Carpenter, spent the day with the president.
“Today was very fast paced just like this past week has been,” Carpenter said.
One week ago Tuesday, fire trucks raced into Carpenter’s parking lot. This present Tuesday, it was the White House that rushed in.
“We are going to work with you. We are going to help you – help you rebuild,” Carpenter said.
The president stood in the parking lot with promises of help. So does Carpenter think he will get some of those $4 million federal dollars to help rebuild?
“Possibly,” Carpenter said. “You know, that’s got to get spread out over a lot of people. There’s a lot of destruction. We are one part of many businesses that were destroyed.”
What needs rebuilding now, Scott said, is faith in the city of Kenosha. Scott said the president’s visit did offer healing – and from where he sat just a few seats down from the Commander in Chief at a business roundtable, politics were largely on the backburner.
“I’m not a very political person. I didn’t see a lot of politics in it,” Carpenter said. “He gave a lot of praise to people that were not Republicans — they were Democrats.”
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In addition to money for businesses, $1 million in federal aid will assist Kenosha law enforcement, and $42 million is geared toward public safety statewide in Wisconsin.
Across the street from Scott’s store, Affordable Auto Sales survived the unrest last week – but cars there took on hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
“The guys that burned that one down, came right over here,” said David Prill of Affordable Auto Sales, “and if we weren’t here, they’d have burnt it down.”
Prill too hopes for healing, and he is happy he survived what he called the two machines that descended on Kenosha this week.
“We had two machines come into town. We had the riot machine, then we had the president machine,” Prill said. “At least the president machine didn’t destroy my cars.”
Carpenter was not sure why he was picked to meet with President Trump. He was asked Monday, and he is neither a donor to nor a supporter of either party.
He said this was the right time for President Trump to come to Kenosha, when it is on the front burner and it is the best time for taking action.