On Tuesday, Donald Trump made good on his promise to further promote chaos and violence by visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin, against the wishes of pretty much everybody except the racists who love him. As part of his Fascism for Idiots tour, Trump visited a series of local businesses that were destroyed during the protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake, using them as a backdrop for his prattling about law and order. But at least one of those visits was based—surprise!—on trickery and deception.
According to Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate TMJ4, Tom Gram, the owner of Rode’s Camera Shop, said no when the Trump campaign asked if he wanted his shop to be included in Trump’s tour. Which is why he was extremely surprised, to say the least, when he turned on the television and heard Trump not only talking about his store, but saw that he was there with the former owner of his business, a man whom Trump claimed was the current owner of Gram’s business.
More, from TMJ4, on what surely was a very strange moment for Gram:
“John Rode III, owner of Rode’s Camera Shop,” President Trump said as he introduced Rode during a round table conversation on Tuesday.
Rode does not own Rode’s Camera Shop. However, he does own the property, located at 2204 Roosevelt Road in Kenosha, the site of Rode’s Camera Shop.
Rode was in front of TV cameras during the tour and he commended President Trump’s response to the Kenosha unrest.
“I just appreciate President Trump coming today, everybody here does,” Rode said. “We’re so thankful we got the federal troops here. Once they got here things did calm down quite a bit.”
“A day earlier would have saved his store,” President Trump responded.
Gram, who bought the business eight years ago, is not only upset that Trump used his business against his wishes and lied about the owner, he also disagrees with Trump’s message. “I think he needs to bring this country together rather than divide it,” Gram told TMJ4, adding, “I think there’s a lot of good people in this community and to say that only law enforcement is correct is not the message we need to hear right now.”
But Trump is Trump and he only has one move in his playbook, and he used his visit to Kenosha to deny the existence of racism in policing and again described police violence as cases of “bad apples” just “choking,” which he on Monday had compared to golfers who miss a putt. From the Guardian:
“We have to condemn the dangerous anti-police rhetoric,” Trump said. “It’s getting more and more, it’s very unfair. You have some bad apples, we all know that, and those will be taken care of through the system, and nobody’s going to be easy on them either.”
Other officers “choke” under “tremendous pressure”, he added. “They may be there for 15 years and have a spotless record, and all of sudden they’re faced with a decision, you have a quarter of a second, quarter of a second to make a decision. And if they make a wrong decision, one way or the other, they’re either dead, or they’re in big trouble.”
Gram, for his part, explained why he didn’t want to be involved in Trump’s photo op, telling the NBC affiliate, “I think everything he does turns into a circus and I just didn’t want to be involved in it.” Smart man!