President Trump surveys damage, meets with impacted business owners in Kenosha

President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Sept. 1 surveyed the damage of the previous week's unrest in Kenosha, meeting with business owners who were impacted by the destruction.

While several local and state leaders asked President Trump not to come to Kenosha on Tuesday, the owner of a Kenosha business said the president needed to be there.

One week after flames tore through Kenosha's B&L Office Furniture, owner Scott Carpenter recalled what the rubble used to be.

"A lot of work went into this business," Carpenter said. "I recognize pieces of furniture, and it's like a flashback."

The business was burned down during unrest the followed the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake. President Trump toured the damage in Kenosha on Tuesday, including the family-owned furniture store.

"We're going to have some meetings. We're going to meet with some of the owners," the president said during his Kenosha visit.

Carpenter and his family, along with other local business owners, agreed to meet with the president. They also attended the president's roundtable discussion with leaders and law enforcement.

Scott Carpenter

"It wouldn't make sense to come later. Later, the destruction is going to be cleaned and you're seeing empty lots. Come here now, and you can smell it in the air. You can see it. You can touch it," said Carpenter. "It let us know as small business leaders that we matter. That we're important."

Carpenter said he would gladly meet with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, too, if he comes to Kenosha.

"If he should become president, these are some of the things he will have to deal with," Carpenter said. "I would meet with him with a smile on my face just as I did with President Trump."

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday announced that businesses that suffered damage in Kenosha last week will be eligible for no-interest loans to help with repairs. 

Carpenter and his family are still deciding how they'll move forward with their plan to rebuild.

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