Trump to Send Federal Forces to Kenosha to Help Quell Riots

August 26, 2020 Updated: August 26, 2020

President Donald Trump says that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has accepted federal assistance to help quell disturbances in Kenosha that have led to two deaths and a large amount of property damage.

“My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance,” Trump wrote in an Aug. 26 tweet. “TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”

Meanwhile, Evers has authorized 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to support local Kenosha County law enforcement on Aug. 26, the governor’s office said.

“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” Trump said earlier, adding that the federal assistance is aimed at restoring law and order.

When asked about the federal assistance, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told reporters on Aug. 26, “The good people of Kenosha want them here.”

The apparent turnabout from Evers came after several officials accused the governor of turning down an offer for federal help on Aug. 25.

“We have National Guard standing by, and if the general for the National Guard needs additional help, we’re there to do it,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “But today, that request was denied by the governor.”

Tony Evers
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers awaits to address the virtual Democratic National Convention from Milwaukee, on Aug. 19, 2020. (Melina Mara/Pool/Getty Images)

Meadows said the situation in Kenosha, where riots exploded late Aug. 23 after a black man was shot by police after officers responded to calls about a domestic incident, “is out of control and it can’t be allowed to continue.”

Lawmakers representing Wisconsin had urged Evers to accept the assistance.

The governor “should reconsider his refusal to accept [the president’s] offer to send more personnel to restore order,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement on Aug. 26.

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) said he asked Trump for assistance and he agreed before Evers rejected the officer.

“I call on the Governor to accept the President’s offer,” he said around the same time.

Trump and Evers spoke by phone, Meadows said, before accusing Democratic governors in various states of ignoring the unrest that has taken hold in cities in recent months.

“You do not have a First Amendment right to loot and riot,” he said.

Trump called on Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to accept federal assistance to help quell the continued rioting in Portland, an idea she rebuffed late Aug. 25.

Evers’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

A spokeswoman told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the Trump administration was actually offering help from the Department of Homeland Security.

The governor rejected the offer, she said, because he sent 125 more National Guard members to Kenosha after an initial deployment of 125 failed to keep the peace Aug. 25.

“The governor informed them that we would be increasing Wisconsin National Guard support in Kenosha and therefore would not need federal assistance in response to protests but would welcome additional federal support and resources for our state’s response to COVID-19,” Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback said.

Epoch Times Photo
A protester holds up a phone as he stands in front of law enforcement officers in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25, 2020. (Morry Gash/AP Photo)

In an Aug. 25 statement, Evers called on people to protest “peacefully and safely.”

“Everyone should be able to exercise their fundamental right—whether a protester or member of the press—peacefully and safely. We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction,” he said.

Later in the day, the governor signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency because of unrest in Kenosha and other cities. The order states that “unfortunately, some individuals have deviated from peaceful protests and engaged in unlawful, harmful, and dangerous activities, including arson, which has endangered the lives of other protesters and bystanders, which cannot be tolerated.”

The order enables the adjutant general to call to active-duty additional National Guardsmen if deemed necessary to assist local law enforcement and protect buildings and other infrastructure.

Wisconsin Adjutant General Paul Knapp told reporters during a briefing that more National Guardsmen from inside the state are on their way to Kenosha. Discussions with other states are underway about potentially sending members to help Wisconsin authorities.

No buildings appeared to be set on fire in Kenosha overnight Aug. 25, but two people were fatally shot in another night of chaos. An alleged shooter was arrested in Illinois on Aug. 26.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber