Democrat Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's request for a $16 million federal government bailout to pay for the cleanup of infrastructure destroyed by rioters in Minneapolis was rejected by the Trump administration.
On July 2, Walz formally asked President Donald Trump to “declare a major disaster for the State of Minnesota because of extensive fire damage to public infrastructure caused by civil unrest.” The governor sought financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
On Friday, the governor’s office confirmed that Walz's request had been denied, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
“The Governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support,” said a spokesperson for Walz in a statement quoted by the Star-Tribune. “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.”
In a prepared statement, FEMA said Saturday that after “a thorough review,” the agency determined “that the impact to public infrastructure is within the capabilities of the local and state governments to recover from.”
In 2015, FEMA under the Obama administration denied federal aid to Maryland after rioting in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray.
Trump slammed Walz for what the president said was the governor's weak response to the riots in Minnesota.
On May 27, rioters attacked a police precinct and set businesses ablaze. Local law enforcement did little to respond.
In his letter requesting funds, Walz wrote to Trump that Minnesota had acted to address the civil unrest “quickly.”
State law enforcement officials told a different story. Leaders of the Minnesota National Guard and Department of Public Safety testified before the Senate last week that 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.Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, praised the Trump administration’s decision to reject Walz’s request, placing blame on the local officials who told police to stand down during the rioting.
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.
“Great news! @realDonaldTrump has DENIED Minnesota's disaster request to repair half a billion dollars in damage from the riots,” Duncan tweeted. “Governors and Mayors who ordered police to stand down and watch their cities burn shouldn't get a penny in taxpayer aid!”
Radio and TV host Mark Levin echoed the sentiment, tweeting: "Great decision. The president offered the National Guard but the pathetic governor waited and waited. And now the Minneapolis city council votes to abolish its police department. Pay for your own man-made hell. So much for utopia."
Free Press International