At a news conference on Monday, President Trump said he’s not meeting with Jacob Blake’s family in Wisconsin because the family wanted to involve lawyers.
Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, sparking demonstrations. Trump is set to visit Kenosha tomorrow.
“Well I spoke to the pastor, wonderful man, the family’s pastor, and I thought it would be better not to do anything where there were lawyers involved. They wanted me to speak, they wanted to have lawyers involved and I thought that was inappropriate so I didn’t do that. But I did speak with the pastor of the family,” Trump said.
The President said he and the pastor had “a great talk,” adding, “I may at some point do that, but they did have a lawyer that wanted to be on the phone and I said no. That’s inappropriate, but I did just give my best regards.”
Jacob Blake's father appeared on the Situation Room following Trump's news conference and responded to Trump's claim about speaking to his pastor.
"We don't have a family pastor," Jacob Blake Sr., said, "I don't know who he talked to, I don't care who he talked to," he told CNN's Jim Acosta.
Acosta asked the family's attorney Ben Crump: "Mr. Blake didn't seem to have any idea who the President is talking about when he talks about this pastor, are you aware of the White House making any attempts to speak to the family, speak to you, speak to anybody associated with this family?"
Crump said, "Yes, Miss Julia Jackson, Jacob's mother, her pastor, pastor James, and attorney Salvi was trying to coordinate for the President to call while he was in communication with Miss Jackson and us, and she was ready to receive the phone call, but for some reason, the call never came. And we now understand why. I don't know why the President wouldn't want the family to have their lawyers on the phone. He seems to have lawyers with him when he talks to people."
During his news conference, Trump also defended his decision to visit Kenosha when asked by reporters if he had concerns that his trip to the city could exacerbate tensions.
"It could also increase enthusiasm. And it could increase love and respect for our country. And that is why I'm going," Trump said.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wrote a letter Sunday asking Trump to reconsider his visit as the city continues to grapple with the unrest stemming from the police shooting of Blake.