ICYMI: Rep. Steil Corrects the Record on Kenosha

[Madison, WI] – In case you missed it, after weeks of lies from Tony Evers and local partisans in an effort to sugarcoat Evers’ failure to lead during the violent riots in Kenosha, Rep. Steil penned an op-ed in the Kenosha News to set the record straight. 

As Rep. Steil notes, Wisconsin law enforcement officials had to ask Evers to “refrain from making statements specific to Kenosha” that were threatening the lives of law enforcement and the community. After fanning the flames of violence, Evers then sent fewer troops than what was needed to keep the peace and turned down federal help from President Trump, saying that he “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.” It took Evers four days to visit Kenosha and survey the damage.

When Kenoshans needed real leadership from their governor, Tony Evers failed. The Evers administration can continue to trot out partisans and political allies in their attempt to rewrite history, but the Wisconsinites who watched their community burn won’t be fooled.

Read more from Rep. Steil in the Kenosha News below:

Evers’ own words tell what he did in Kenosha
Kenosha News
Rep. Bryan Steil
July 8, 2021

In a flurry of articles this past week, Governor Evers, his administration, and local partisans have launched a concerted effort to sugarcoat what the governor did and did not do before, during, and after the riots. But, if you want to get to the truth of what Tony Evers did that week, all you need to do is look at his own words.

On Aug. 23, just hours after the shooting of Jacob Blake, but before rioting occurred, Tony Evers issued the following statement: “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.” He continued “(w)hile we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.” Those were Governor Evers’ incendiary written words in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Without the facts, he immediately put the shooting in the context of race and insinuated this was a merciless act.

Evers’ statement and his public comments in the days that followed were so offensive and so dangerous that the heads of the Wisconsin Sheriffs’ Associations and Police Chiefs’ Association sent a letter to Evers. The letter urges the governor to “refrain from making statements specific to Kenosha” because they put the lives of law enforcement officers and the public at risk. Stop and think about that. The organizations representing the sheriffs and the police chiefs of this state banded together to tell our governor to stop talking about Kenosha because his words put lives in danger.


Two days later, Aug. 25, Evers’ words were even worse. Earlier that day, city and county leaders, as well as local law enforcement officials, made an urgent call to me asking for assistance. As a federal official, it was obvious they were seeking federal help, but really, they were looking for any help they could get. Knowing what was happening in Kenosha, and hearing their urgency, I called the White House and asked to speak with President Trump. The president took my call. He explained that Governor Evers had not asked for help, but promised to offer federal assistance to Kenosha.

Shortly after that call, the president reached out to the governor. Shockingly, Evers refused the help. The direct quote from Evers’ office that day said they “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.”

Hours after that refusal of federal help, two people died on the streets of Kenosha. No doubt recognizing his failure, the next day the governor finally relented and accepted help. I remember hearing the news while meeting with local leaders in the city of Kenosha that afternoon. The same day, the governor made an Emergency Management Assistance Compact to bring in National Guard from other states. Predictably, the unrest then died down quickly, coming more than a little too late for many.