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Governor Tony Evers (D) wrote to President Donald Trump on Sunday evening to “respectfully ask” him “to reconsider” his upcoming visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where violent unrest erupted following the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake by police, because the president’s presence in the city could stop the community from healing.
In a letter released Sunday afternoon, and obtained by News 3 Now, Evers told Trump that he and other community leaders in Kenosha “are concerned your presence will only hinder our healing” and “delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
“It is our job as elected officials to lead by example and to be a calming presence for the people we know are hurting, mourning, and trying to cope with trauma. Now is not the time for divisiveness. Now is not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state instigators who want to contribute to our anguish,” said Evers.
Notably, several Wisconsin law enforcement groups recently wrote an open letter to Evers and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes (D), criticizing them for making “premature, judgmental, and inflammatory” statements, which “only add to the anger and divisiveness of an already dangerous situation.”
In Evers’ letter to Trump on Sunday, the Wisconsin governor also accused the president and unspecified others of spreading misinformation, saying: “I have continued to stress that protests need to be peaceful and that we must come together to address the significant challenges that we face, and the state of Wisconsin has fulfilled every request for support we have received from the City of Kenosha and Kenosha County leaders.”
The governor also pointed to the early presence of Wisconsin National Guard members, of which 125 were present in Kenosha by Monday evening, 250 by Tuesday evening, and 500 by Wednesday evening.
However, Congressman Bryan Steil (R-WI), who represents Kenosha County, has been critical of the speed at which the governor sent help to quell the violent unrest, having made multiple statements calling on Evers to ask for help if he needed it.
“Last night, the situation went from bad to worse,” said Steil on Wednesday morning, after two people were killed and another was injured.
“We are once again still gathering the facts. The violence must be stopped. Yesterday, Governor Evers sent 250 National Guard to Kenosha. This 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 others states and federal law enforcement officers,” he said.
“The violence needs to stop now,” added Steil.
During a Saturday visit to Texas, Trump told reporters that Kenosha has been in better shape since “we sent in 1,000 National Guard,” a figure he referred to as “not even a big force.” Trump also said he could address the crisis in Portland “in a matter of literally minutes” if their governor and mayor would only ask for federal assistance.