Outgoing White House adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke out Thursday about the protests that have rocked Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of a Black man over the weekend.
To Conway, the situation is a boost for President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects.
“The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” she said.
Trump has consistently cast anti-racism protesters as lawbreakers, going so far as to send federal agents to cities including Portland, Oregon, to quell the civil unrest.
“These are Democratically led cities and most with Democratic governors. … It’s not Donald Trump’s watch,” Conway said.
Symone Sanders, an aide to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, slammed her for the comments.
“Welcoming the suffering is nihilistic and disgusting,” Sanders said, adding, “And Donald Trump is in charge right now.”
Conway, who has stood with Trump since the 2016 campaign, announced earlier this week that she will step down from her White House role to spend more time with her family.
Hundreds of people have turned out in Kenosha for anti-racism demonstrations since video of the police shooting was posted online. Police shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times in his back, leaving him paralyzed.
Fires set during nighttime protests this week left many buildings damaged or destroyed, including the Department of Corrections building in the city.
Things turned deadly Tuesday when a suspected vigilante shot three people ― killing two ― while attempting to protect local businesses, authorities said. A third person was hospitalized with a serious but non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
A suspect, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the shootings.
Right-wing media pundits defended the gunman’s actions as necessary self-defense.
“So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?” Tucker Carlson said on his Fox News show Wednesday. “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
When a CNN reporter brought up Rittenhouse’s support for Trump on Thursday, Conway got defensive.
“The president wants everybody to stop the violence,” Conway said. “And I know you’re trying to conflate that individual with President Trump, and you really shouldn’t do that.”
“That’s pretty offensive,” she added.
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