Kenosha, Wisconsin has had further protests and rioting in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by law enforcement. The shooting comes during a nationwide movement protesting police brutality and racial bias.
In the midst of civil unrest, President Donald Trump decided to visit Kenosha despite requests from Mayor John Antaramian to hold off until a less turbulent time.
Kenosha small business Rode's Camera Shop has been owned by Tom Gram the past eight years after forty years of working at the shop as an employee. Last week during the discord Rode's Camera Shop burnt down.
Trump reached out to Gram inviting him to participate in a photo op at his former business site.
Gram declined the invitation from Trump saying:
"Everything he does turns into a circus and I just didn't want to be involved in it."
Despite this denial, Trump arrived at the remainder of the former business with the previous owner John Rode III, making it appear as if Rode still owned the business.
The video below shows Rode holding an old Rode's print while the President addressed the camera.
During the visit the former owner made pro-Trump comments in front of the camera after prompting from Trump.
"I just appreciate President Trump coming today, everybody here does."
"We're so thankful we got the federal troops here. Once they got here things did calm down quite a bit."
The President used this to segue into his own self-flattery by making a false claim.
“A day earlier would have saved his store."
Gram expressed disappointment in the President and Rode for the misleading photo op after his refusal, adding Trump needs to "bring this country together rather than divide it." He wasn't the only one upset by the President's decision to use the remains of Gram's business for his own self-promotion.
Twitter users blasted the President for the staged photo op with a person who doesn't own the business they exploited.
Many felt his fake photo op—after speaking out against fake news—was highly hypocritical.
Other users compared the President's manipulation to something more Orwellian.
Conversely, Twitter users praised Gram for adhering to his principles with his refusal to participate.
“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."
May everyone stay safe, stay informed and may justice be served and healing found for all victims, including Jacob Blake and Tom Gram.