Trump caught in photo op ‘lie’
A business owner whose century-old camera shop was burned to the ground has accused US President Donald Trump of visiting the site without permission for political gain.
Tom Gram's camera shop was burned down during violent protests and riots in Kenosha, Washington, last week after the police shooting of African American man Jacob Blake. Mr Gram told TMJ4 he was asked to be a part of Mr Trump's tour of damage in the local area, but he refused.
Instead, Mr Trump took a photo opportunity with a former owner of the business, who sold it eight years ago. The former owner, John Rode III, praised the President when interviewed by media outside the burned out shop.
:: Tonight on @tmj4 News at 10...— Steve Chamraz (@TMJ4Steve) September 2, 2020
The owner of a damaged business refused to appear with @POTUS.
So who is the guy he posed with and called the store's "owner?"@BenJordan3 exposes some photo-op deception at 10pm. pic.twitter.com/9RGPaw1qcP
Mr Gram said he was surprised when Mr Trump introduced Mr Rode and the pair talked to the media as if he still owned the shop - which he does not. Mr Rode does still own the site the business was on, according to records accessed by TMJ4.
"John Rode III, owner of Rode's Camera Shop," Mr Trump said at the scene.
Mr Rode said he appreciated Mr Trump being in Kenosha, "everybody here does," he said.
He said once federal troops and the national guard were called into the city "things did calm down quite a bit".
Mr Trump has been campaigning on rhetoric in recent days that unrest across the United States is the fault of the Democratic Party, and Democrat mayors and state leaders.
Mr Trump has urged cities to allow the US to allow National Guard troops across the country to enter cities to quell protests.
"A day earlier would have saved his store," Mr Trump said during the meeting with Mr Rode.
Mr Gram said he declined to appear with the President, because "everything he does turns into a circus and I just didn't want to be involved in it".
He said said he believed Mr Trump should "bring this country together rather than divide it".
"I think there's a lot of good people in this community and to say that only law enforcement is correct is not the message we need to hear right now," he said.
Originally published as Trump caught in photo op 'lie'