Kamala Harris holds meeting with Jacob Blake and his family on campaign visit to Wisconsin

Vice presidential candidate says Blake family ‘carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders’

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 07 September 2020 22:08 BST
Joe Biden says Trump 'legitimises dark side of human nature' in Kenosha speech

Kamala Harris met privately with Jacob Blake and his family during her visit to Wisconsin in the wake of protests after a police officer fired seven rounds into the 29-year-old black man’s back, leaving him paralysed.

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Blake family, said the vice presidential candidate held an “inspirational and uplifting” hour-long meeting with Mr Blake’s sisters and his father Jacob Blake Sr, while Mr Blake and his mother joined by phone from his hospital bed.

“She spoke individually with each family member about how they were handling the trauma and urged them to take care of their physical and mental health,” according to the family’s attorneys.

Mr Blake told Joe Biden’s running mate that “he was proud her, and the senator told Jacob that she was also proud of him and how he is working through his pain," attorneys said in a statement. “Jacob Jr assured her that he is not going to give up on life for the sake of his children."

“They’re an incredible family, and what they’d endured, and they just do it with such dignity and grace," she told reporters after the meeting. “They’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”

Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, was visiting La Crosse, Wisconsin to campaign on behalf of Donald Trump.

The campaign stops follow last week’s visit from the Democratic presidential candidate and his wife Jill Biden two days after the president touched down in Kenosha, Wisconsin to tour buildings damaged during protests and to meet with local and federal law enforcement.

Senator Harris said the purpose of her meeting with the Blake family was to "express concern for their well-being and, of course, for their brother and their son’s well-being, and to let them know that they have support.”

In Kenosha, the president reinforced his law-and-order rhetoric condemning “political violence” and casting blame on “reckless far-left politicians” for property damage following widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism, though he dismissed those concerns and denied the need for structural reform in American policing.

On Thursday, candidate Biden held a community meeting at a Kenosha church with several local faith leaders, organisers, business owners and first responders, marking a rare, intimate moment in his 2020 campaign to offer a contrasting vision of the US to the president's violent views, which Mr Biden has said has exploited American vulnerability amid several crises for a campaign of fear.

The former vice president also met with the Blake family, joined by Mr Blake by phone, during his Tuesday visit after he arrived in Wisconsin.

“We spoke for about 15 minutes,” Mr Biden said. “He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not he was not going to give up.”

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