U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday visited Kenosha in Wisconsin state, following week-long violent protests over the police shooting of unarmed African American man Jacob Blake.
"Kenosha has been ravaged by anti-police and anti-American riots," Trump said in the city with a population of around 100,000.
The president said his administration would provide about 1 million U.S. dollars to Kenosha law enforcement, about 4 million dollars to help local small businesses and more than 42 million dollars to support public safety efforts statewide.
"You went through hell just a few days ago, but I feel so safe," Trump told local communities. "We're safe because of law enforcement."
Trump is not meeting with the Blake family because they requested their lawyers be involved, which the president said was "inappropriate," according to a USA Today report.
Blake, a 29-year-old father of three children, was shot seven times in the back by a white city police officer on Aug 23. He was paralyzed from the shooting and remains at a hospital in the city. A 17-year-old white male shot and killed two protesters two days later.
Earlier on Monday, in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Trump appeared to criticize the Kenosha officer by saying, "shooting a guy in the back many times - I mean, couldn't you have done something different?"
However, he also defended the officer, saying the victim "might have been going for a weapon," and then added: "But they choke, just like in a golf tournament - they miss a 3-foot putt."
Speaking on MSNBC, Anthony Davis, head of the Kenosha office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, denounced Trump's comment.
"I play golf," he said. "I know about choking. That's a man's life ... You can't compare golf to a man's life."
Prior to Trump's visit, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, both Democrats, urged the president not to come to the city, warning that Trump's trip would stoke divisions and amplify tensions in the already damaged city.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday strongly dismissed Trump's accusations that the former vice president is anti-law enforcement or condones violence in cities including Kenosha and Portland, Oregon. Biden said the president himself is a contributing factor to the unrest and racial strife that has roiled the country this summer.
"Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It's lawlessness, plain and simple," said Biden in a statement. "And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It will only bring destruction. It's wrong in every way."
In late May, George Floyd died after a white police officer kneeled on the 46-year-old African American man's neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which sparked nationwide demonstrations against what activists have described as police brutality and systemic racial inequality, as well as social unrest in some U.S. cities.
Biden has made race relations a pillar of his White House run in response to the movement, while Trump has focused on violent aspects of the demonstrations and doubled down on his support for police officers.
Wisconsin is a critical battleground state in November's election after Trump carried it by roughly 23,000 votes in 2016. A Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday found Biden with a nine-point lead over Trump in Wisconsin.