Meanwhile, President Trump promised on Twitter to restore “LAW AND ORDER” in Kenosha by sending in troops. “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” Mr. Trump wrote.
With the unrest in Kenosha happening the same week as the Republican National Convention, local events were threatening to merge with national politics. James Wigderson, editor of a conservative website in Waukesha, Wis., said the chaos reinforced the message of the Republicans this week that the Democrats were not fit to govern.
“Whether it’s fair or not, they see this all as one monolith: From Biden on down to the guy throwing the brick at the cop,” said Mr. Wigderson, who has been critical of Mr. Trump. “As a result, they are more motivated not to let those people win.”
That was all the more true for committed Republicans in Kenosha. Don Biehn, 62, owner of a flooring company, was standing in line at a gun store on Tuesday afternoon. He said that he had never bought a pistol before, but that he had a business to protect. A former county board supervisor, Mr. Biehn said he had been calling county and state officials for days, trying to explain how grave the situation was.
Neither John Antaramian, the mayor of Kenosha, nor Jim Kreuser, the county executive, responded to requests for comment. (The positions are nonpartisan, but both men previously served in the State Assembly as Democrats.)
“There’s people running all over with guns — it’s like some Wild West town,” Mr. Biehn said. “We are just waiting here like sitting ducks waiting to get picked off.”
He added: “It’s chaos — everybody is afraid.”
Mr. Trump, he said, “was not my man,” but now he is grateful he is president.