Newsletter: Will Kenosha Visit Help Or Hurt Trump?

Supporters of both President Donald Trump and Black Lives Matters clash in a park outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Morry Gash / AP Photo
Supporters of both President Donald Trump and Black Lives Matters clash in a park outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Morry Gash / AP Photo

Newsletter: Will Kenosha Visit Help Or Hurt Trump?

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Good afternoon! It’s Tuesday, and it’s already September? Time flies during a pandemic. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Trump visits Kenosha after defending suspected protest shooter

President Donald Trump today surveyed damage in Kenosha, Wisc., which became a flashpoint of unrest over racial injustice after a police officer shot Jacob Blake last month. Trump vowed to help rebuild businesses destroyed during recent unrest and touted sending in the National Guard.

But the president did not meet with Blake’s family.

“We don’t have any words for the orange man in the White House,” Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Keep your disrespect and foul language away from our family.” [Sun-Times]

During an interview late last night on Fox News, Trump talked about the police shooting of Blake and compared officers who shoot people to golfers who “choke” when trying to sink “a three-foot putt.”

And during a press briefing earlier yesterday, Trump appeared to defend Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois who faces murder charges after two people were killed in protests against police brutality in Kenosha. [NPR]

As The New York Times reports, Trump’s apparent sympathy for Rittenhouse, who talked openly about being a vigilante, may complicate Republican efforts to project a “law and order” image ahead of the November election. [New York Times]

Meanwhile, protests erupted in Los Angeles after sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a Black man. [NPR]

2. Chicago’s top doctor says “we’re not out of the woods”

Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner, said today the city is seeing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases. Chicago’s seven day average of daily cases is 348, which is about a 1% increase from the week before, Arwady said today. The city had seen averages below 200 in late June and early July.

Across Illinois, the average number of cases is also increasing. According to The New York Times, Illinois saw a seven-day average of 1,947 cases per day, an 8% increase from the average two weeks ago. You can find more information about the state’s positivity rate and other COVID-19 metrics in this link. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, North Carolina, Hawaii and Nebraska were added to Chicago’s two-week quarantine travel list. [Chicago Tribune]

3. More than 500 people have been killed in Chicago so far this year

Chicago is on track to finish the year with the most violence since 2016, when the city suffered a surge in homicides — nearly 780 — that had not been seen since 1996, reports the Chicago Tribune. In 2016, at least 4,330 people were shot. So far this year, 2,703 people have been shot.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, who previously said his “moonshot” for the year would be fewer than 300 homicides, did not mention the grim milestone at a recent press conference. But he did say that 51 officers have been shot at and 10 have been hit this year. [Chicago Tribune]

Shootings and homicides did drop in August, but murders remain up by 50% this year compared to last year, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. [Sun-Times]

4. Another guilty plea from a former politician in Illinois

Former Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski today pleaded guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying on his income taxes. And WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos reports that Tobolksi is cooperating with investigators as part of his plea agreement.

Tobolski admitted that he took “multiple extortion and bribe payments” worth a total of more than $250,000. The veteran politician admitted he had been at the center of “criminal activity that involved five participants.” [WBEZ]

In February, a southwest suburban factory owner told WBEZ and the Better Government that Tobolski pressured him into making a campaign contribution at the same time his company was seeking Tobolski’s backing for a critical property tax break. [WBEZ]

5. It truly was a hot time in the city

Chicago saw it’s hottest meteorological summer on record this year, according to WGN’s Tom Skilling and Bill Snyder.

The average temperature for this year’s meteorological summer, which lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August, was 76.7 degrees. That’s slightly above the previous record of 76.4 degrees set in 1955. This summer was also 4.9 degrees above the normal average, WGN reports.

The Chicago area so far this year has recorded 31 days with a high of at least 90 degrees. In 1988, there were a record 47 days of temperatures hitting the 90s and seven days that reached at least 100 degrees. [WGN]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Two midwives want to give women on the South Side more options for giving birth. [WBEZ]
  • Cook County prosecutors say teen activist Caleb Reed was accidentally shot and killed by a friend. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • A Chicago commission this week will reconsider a recommendation to designate the former home of Emmett Till as a landmark. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Netflix postponed a preview of Chadwick Boseman’s final movie. [BBC]

Oh, and one more thing …

Summer is effectively coming to an end for Chicago’s more than 355,000 public school students, who return to classes a week from today. And some organizations on the city’s South and West sides are seeking supplies and resources to help students as they learn remotely.

Block Club Chicago created this guide to various organizations, who are seeking everything from Spanish-speaking volunteers to laptops to books. Amazon Wishlists have been created for some of the groups so you can see what exactly they need. [Block Club Chicago]

Tell me something good …

I don’t have to tell you these are some pretty stressful times. What do you do to relieve stress?

Roseanne tweets:

“I love coloring books. It’s such an easy, calming activity that I can do while Netflix plays in the background. Takes your mind away from the stress, even if only for a little while.”

And @DuncanDaHusky tweets:

“My stress relief these days is @GeoGuessr. They leverage Google Street View to drop you at street level…somewhere. You have to “drive” around to try to figure out where you are. I love to travel and since that’s not happening right now, GeoGuessr is a nice substitute.”

What do you do to relieve stress? Feel free to email at or tweet to @whuntah.

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