The owner of a business in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that burned down during last week’s protests refused a photo opportunity with President Donald Trump, who went on to replace him with the store’s previous owner.
Tom Gram, who owns Rode’s Camera Shop, told local NBC News affiliate TMJ in Milwaukee that the White House had extended an invitation earlier this week to meet Trump outside the store on Tuesday during the president’s tour of the city. Gram said he declined the meeting, adding that everything Trump “does turns into a circus and I just didn’t want to be involved in it.”
Trump still stopped outside the store, but did so alongside former owner John Rode III, who sold his family business to Gram about eight years ago, but still owns the property on 2204 Roosevelt Road. The president acted like Rode remained the owner of the business, and Rode appeared to go along with it while praising Trump.
Gram said that Trump’s description of the shop as Rode’s store was deceptive, and that he’s disappointed that his ownership of the store wasn’t recognized.
“I think he needs to bring this country together rather than divide it,” Gram said.
“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 added.
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