Monday President Donald Trump addressed reporters at a White House briefing, defending his visit to Wisconsin.
Trump is scheduled to visit Kenosha on Tuesday to tour damage and meet with law enforcement after unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
On Sunday, Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers sent the president a letter urging him not to come, saying the visit “will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.” But Kenosha County Board supervisors urged him not to cancel.
Earlier Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden forcefully condemned the violence at recent protests while also blaming Trump for fomenting the divide that’s sparking it.
In one of his sharpest attacks on the president yet, Biden went on to call Trump a “toxic presence in this nation for four years” and accuse him of “poisoning the values this nation has always held dear, poisoning our very democracy.”
During the press conference Trump again gave a misleading accusation that Democrats removed the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance during the Democratic National Convention.
The central programming of the convention featured the entire pledge, complete with “under God," which can be verified by looking at video of all four nights of the convention.
During two caucuses before the evening conventions started, the Muslim Delegates and Allies Assembly and the LGBTQ Caucus meeting left out “under God,” from the pledge. The party's series of caucus meetings was live streamed but not part of the prime-time convention broadcast.
During presidential rival Joe Biden's speech Monday, the former vice president tried to refocus the race on what has been its defining theme — Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left more than 180,000 Americans dead — after a multi-day onslaught by the president’s team to make the campaign about the violence rattling American cities.
The virus is blamed for over 6 million confirmed infections in the U.S., and Worldwide the death toll is put at almost 850,000, with over 25 million cases.
Monday it was reported that the Trump administration has also weakened an Obama-era rule aimed at stopping coal plant pollution that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers. The changes finalized Monday will allow utilities to use cheaper wastewater cleanup technologies and take longer to comply with pollution reduction guidelines adopted in 2015.
Its the latest in a string of regulatory rollbacks for the coal power industry under Trump. The Environmental Protection Agency says it will save companies $140 million annually. But environmentalists say the move will harm public health and result in hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants annually contaminating water bodies.
Trump's visit to Wisconsin on Tuesday comes as demonstrators are calling for the officer who shot Blake to be fired and face attempted murder charges, and more than a week after authorities say a 17-year-old from northern Illinois shot and killed two protesters.
Prior to last week's Republican National Convention, the president had returned to routinely holding daily press conferences at the White House to discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic and other events, including the presidential election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.