The Republican Lieutenant governor of Missouri today said he believes the state’s Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, did not deploy National Guard troops to Ferguson to prevent the outbreak of violence because of pressure from the Obama administration to keep them away.
“Here’s my question that the governor must answer,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said today. “Is the reason that the national guard was not in there is because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out?”
Kinder noted that the Guard had been sent to other locations in the region. “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in (to Ferguson) to stop this, before it started,” he said.
Indeed, there were reports Holder was not happy with Nixon’s efforts to display force and use the National Guard. From an article Friday in the Washington Post:
Holder also expressed concerns privately about Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision this week to declare a state of emergency at a news conference and activate the National Guard . . .
A top aide to Holder called the governor’s office earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration,” according to a Justice Department official.
“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles last night said that the National Guard had not been deployed to Ferguson before – and even well after – violence erupted in the city, and that he could not even reach officials to get help. The failure to deploy the Guard appears in his view to have allowed violence to spiral out of control.
The desperate mayor spoke with a local news outlet:
They were deployed at other parts of the St. Louis region . . . Why were they not in (Ferguson) at the first sign of an overturned police car or a smashed police car window with a show of course that would have stopped this?
I know I’ve been on the phone in contact with the County Executive’s Office. I know he has requested. I am requesting. I’ve requested the National Guard troops to come out from the command post to help restore order along the business district. We have not seen that.
It’s my understanding that the commanders out on the street have requested this, and those calls have gone unheeded at this point . . . We need to have the governor step up, give us the resources that he’s promised from the beginning. He stated he would have a strong response, that the resources necessary would be provided. They have not been provided so far. We need that right now.
Here are videos of Kinder and Knowles.