Gov. Tim Walz is expressing ‘disappointment' that his request for aid to help rebuild and repair Twin Cities structures that were damaged in the violent protests following George Floyd’s death has been rejected by the Trump administration.
Walz asked President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” for the state of Minnesota in his request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on July 2. More than 1,500 buildings were damaged by fires, looting and vandalism in the days of unrest that followed Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody, racking up more than $500 million in damages, according to Walz.
The governor’s spokesman, Teddy Tschann, confirmed late Friday that the request for federal aid was denied.
“The Governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support,” Tschann said in a statement. “As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, we look for support from our federal government to help us through.”
It would seem that the President considered reports by local law enforcement regarding how the governor and mayor handled the protests.
Though Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requested National Guard troops the next morning, and Gov. Walz formally mobilized the Guard that afternoon, the initial response was insufficient.
In his letter requesting funds, Gov. Walz wrote to the president that the state had acted to address the civil unrest “quickly.”
But state law enforcement officials told a different story.
As leaders of the Minnesota National Guard and Department of Public Safety testified before the Senate last week, the initial call-up of 200 National Guard troops was inadequate.
As the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported:
Top law enforcement leaders on Thursday said earlier deployment of National Guard members to assist in the response to protests, arson fires and looting in Minneapolis and St. Paul could’ve mitigated the damage that resulted in May.
Heads of the Minnesota National Guard and Department of Public Safety on Thursday told a Senate panel that their reaction lagged as civil unrest grew beyond what state officials expected and as National Guard officials attempted to reset plans to mobilize an appropriate number of members to address the scene.
Soon the state’s entire 15,000-strong force would be mobilized. President Trump also offered the support of the U.S. military, which was placed on alert, but was not requested by the state in the end.
As protests continued under the banner of “Black Lives Matter,” Mayor Frey attempted to negotiate directly with them, only to be chased off the street when he refused to accept their demand to abolish or defund the police.