During a press conference on Saturday morning, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D-MN) said that the initial protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd have devolved as a group of outsiders have seized on the situation in an “organized attempt to destabilize civil society.”
While Walz said the protests earlier in the week were largely peaceful, the situation on Friday evening was a “mockery of pretending” it was still about Floyd, with the governor noting that the subsequent riots contained elements of domestic terrorism, ideological extremism, and “international destabilization of how our country works.”
The Star Tribune reports that the governor also claimed that as many as 4 in 5 rioters in Minneapolis and St. Paul were from somewhere else.
“Whether it be New York, or Denver, or Louisville, or Las Vegas, there is no mayor in America that has the resources to push back on an organized attempt to destabilize civil society with no regard for life or property,” said the governor.
As such, Walz announced that he was fully mobilizing the Minnesota National Guard in addition to seeking “significant support” from the national guards of adjacent states.
“We will pull in assets as we have been doing, and for those Minnesotans who have been wondering, ‘where are the fire trucks, where are the police that are out there,’ the situation was so broad, and the tactics were so bent on causing destruction, that every single person we had mobilized” had been engaged in the situation, he said.
According to NBC News, President Trump told reporters on Saturday afternoon that he’s prepared to provide military assistance in Minneapolis if asked.
“We have our military ready, willing, and able, if they ever want to call our military. We can have troops on the ground very quickly,” said Trump. “They’re using their National Guard right now, as you know.”
The Pentagon also reportedly ordered the Army to prepare several active-duty military police units on Friday evening, in the event that they’re asked to deploy to Minneapolis, according to the Associated Press, which spoke to “three people with direct knowledge of the orders.”
“A senior Pentagon official who was” on a phone call with Trump administration officials discussing options on Thursday evening told the news agency that the Insurrection Act of 1807 would be the basis for deploying any military units. The act was last invoked during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, reports the news agency.
But a senior Defense official, “speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue,” told The Washington Post on Saturday that nobody “in the department is talking about invoking the Insurrection Act.”
The White House also told AP that active-duty troops have not been deployed, and the Pentagon emphasized in a statement that Minnesota has made no requests for troops.
According to the Post, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley have “expressed the department’s readiness to provide support to local and state authorities as requested” and have had two conversations with the Minnesota governor.
The Star Tribune reports that the governor has instituted another curfew effective 8 p.m. CDT, and promised on Saturday morning that any future agitators will face “an overwhelming force of safety, security and peace.”
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