MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers has reversed himself and is now asking the Trump administration to send federal agents to help stop the riots and violence that have engulfed Wisconsin’s fourth-largest city.
It wasn’t without begging from Kenosha County Board members and lawmakers.
“My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance,” President Trump tweeted today. “TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”
Lawmakers have urged the governor to stop pandering to his political left base and do more to restore order in Kenosha. They’ve been asking: Do Evers and his radical left team hate President Trump so much they are willing to watch Kenosha burn?
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“Two people are dead. Another was shot. This violence could have been prevented,” wrote state Sen. Van Wanggaard Wednesday in a letter to the governor. “Last night, the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors asked for an additional 1,500 National Guard members for Kenosha tonight. I second that request and implore you to fulfill it. Without massive resources, violence will only escalate,” the senator added.
On Tuesday, before events turned deadly in a third night of riots, Trump tweeted, “Governor should call in the National Guard in Wisconsin. It is ready, willing, and more than able. End problem FAST!”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, appearing Tuesday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” said Evers had turned down additional federal assistance from the Department of Homeland Security. The agents would have helped multiple law enforcement agents battling to bring back order to portions of a city that has descended into mob rule following the officer-involved shooting Sunday of a black man.
“We have National Guard standing by that if the general for the National Guard needs additional help, we’re there to do it,” Meadows said. “But today that request was denied by the governor.”
Two people died from gun wounds and a third was shot during the violence that ensued again that night without a surge in law enforcement presence, according to local police.
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, a Republican who represents Kenosha as part of the First Congressional District, said Evers’s begrudging call-up of 250 National Guard members to Kenosha was “woefully insufficient.”
“Yesterday, I asked the President for additional assistance. He agreed. The offer was rejected by Governor Evers. Again, I call on the Governor to accept the President’s offer of assistance, supported by Kenosha officials, which includes National Guard from other states and federal law enforcement officers. The violence needs to stop now,” Steil said in a statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blamed Trump for “making matters worse.”
“Vigilantes coming in to make matters worse in these situations is something the president should be quelling rather than encouraging,” she told reporters Wednesday. “We all respect peaceful demonstrations. We don’t want them to be exploited by outside groups, be they vigilantes and the rest to stir it on.”
Police continue to investigate the shootings. The Kenosha County Board of Supervisors also sent Evers a letter begging for help.
“Our county is under attack,” the letter from board Vice-Chairwoman Monica Yuhas and Chairman John O’Day states. “Our businesses are under attack. Our homes are under attack. Our local law enforcement agencies need additional support to help bring civility back to our community.”
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said the violence in Kenosha is “heartbreaking.”
“It is a tragedy that two people had to lose their lives before Gov. Evers was willing to set aside politics and accept President Trump’s help to restore order in Kenosha,” the Oshkosh Republican said in a statement. “Violence and chaos like we’ve seen the last three nights do nothing to advance justice, and they drown out the voices of those protesting peacefully. Going forward, our focus should be on healing – for Jacob Blake, for the lives turned upside down in the rioting, and for the community of Kenosha.”