Donald Trump has accused protesters of carrying out acts of “domestic terror” after a white police officer was filmed shooting a black man in the back in Wisconsin.
The US president made the remarks on a visit to the city of Kenosha, where Jacob Blake, 29, was left paralysed from the waist down following the shooting on 23 August.
Protesters have marched in Kenosha every night since the shooting, with some demonstrations resulting in buildings and vehicles being damaged and set on fire.
When he arrived in Kenosha, he toured some of the areas damaged by the unrest in the Wisconsin city, before sitting down with leaders to discuss the violence.
Mr Trump said during a roundtable discussion on Tuesday: “Violent mobs demolished or damaged at least 25 businesses, burned down public buildings and threw bricks at police officers – which your police officers won’t stand for, and they didn’t stand for it.
“These are not acts of peaceful protest but really domestic terror.”
Around 1,000 people joined a mile-long march in Kenosha on Saturday night chanting “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice, No Peace” and “seven bullets, seven days” – a reference to the number of times Mr Blake was shot.
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Referencing demonstrations that have taken place since the shooting, the US president continued: “To stop the political violence we must also confront the radical ideology that includes this violence.
“Reckless far-left politicians continue to push the destructive message that our nation and our law enforcement are oppressive or racist, they’ll throw out any word that comes to them.
“Actually we must give far greater support to our law enforcement. It’s all about giving them additional support.”
Mr Trump went on to say “you can do 10,000 great jobs as a policeman or a policewoman… and then you have one bad apple or something happens that’s bad, and that’s the nightly news for three weeks”.
He added the federal government will provide $1m (£750,000) to local law enforcement in Wisconsin, $4m (£3m) for small businesses and $42m (£31m) to support public safety statewide.
Mr Trump later claimed crime rates were highest in cities run by Democrats before adding: “We want to increase police funding substantially.”
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The US president is offering himself as the “law and order” candidate who is best positioned to keep Americans safe leading up to the election on 3 November.
He met with police officers at a high school as part of his visit to Kenosha.
Mr Trump has appeared to suggest a 17-year-old who has been charged with killing two demonstrators in Kenosha on 25 August was acting in self-defence.
Justin Blake, one of Jacob Blake’s uncles, earlier said on Tuesday the justice system needs to be changed so that black children can play outside without worrying about being shot by police.
He also is calling for authorities to charge the officer who shot his nephew on 23 August.