Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the violence and shootings that happened in Kenosha might have been averted had the governor taken the help when it was first offered by the federal government.
“What the president did was he offered to surge manpower resources, so the violence could end,” Johnson said during a CNN interview Sunday. “The governor did not accept that that day. That night, tragically, two people lost their lives because citizens took matters into their own hands.”
He continued, “I’m not for vigilantism. I’m not sure that’s what was happening. People felt because local officials were looking for help—the governor did not accept the help. And so there was not the resolve to end the rioting.”
The shooting of a black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake, sparked a wave of protests, some turning violent, with rioters torching half a dozen buildings, including a number of small businesses. On the third night of unrest, a shooting resulted in one injury and two deaths.
The office of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment on the shootings in Kenosha.
Evers put out a statement about the shootings in Kenosha on Aug. 26 condemning the violence.
“A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again. I again ask those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights please do so peacefully and safely, as so many did last night,” the statement reads. “I also ask the individuals who are not there to exercise those rights to please stay home and let local first responders, law enforcement, and members of the Wisconsin National Guard do their jobs.”
In a separate statement put out the next day, Evers said the National Guard troops will continue to be utilized and adjusted as needed.
“Wisconsin National Guard troops have been on duty in Kenosha since August 24 when authorities in Kenosha made an initial request for Guard assistance,” Evers wrote. “In the ensuing days, local officials in Kenosha made subsequent requests for additional Wisconsin National Guard assistance, resulting in more troops supporting public safety efforts in the city each day. Troop numbers will continue to be adjusted as needed.”
President Donald Trump on Monday wrote on Twitter, “If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now. Also, there would have been great death and injury. I want to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard. I will see you on Tuesday!”
Johnson said the violence only came under control when Evers finally accepted help from the federal government after local officials pushed for federal law enforcement to be called in.
“You have to get control of the situation, and the way you do it is what happened in Kenosha: local officials said, ‘Please, we want help, we want manpower,’ the president offered, the governor finally accepted it, and now at least the streets are not violent,” Johnson said.
“Listen, I don’t want to see anybody lose their life, I don’t want to see the violence continue, I don’t want to see businesses burned down, I don’t want to see economic destruction. I condemn it all,” Johnson added.
In a video of the Aug. 23 incident that sparked the protests and riots in Kenosha, Blake appeared to be resisting arrest before walking around his car while ignoring orders from the police who had guns drawn, opening the driver side door, and reaching in. He was then shot seven times in the back by an officer.
A second video showed Blake struggling with the officers and state investigators said he was tased twice, but to no avail. He survived the encounter and is recovering at the hospital, though family members and his attorney have said he is paralyzed from the waist down.