Good question. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon drew the ire of the White House and Department of Justice with a pre-emptive declaration of emergency in Ferguson to prepare all options for the publication of the grand jury report. Even with all of that lead time — and even while the National Guard deployed to several other locations around St. Louis — the first National Guard troops arrived in Ferguson this morning, after rioters destroyed businesses, public property, and looted.
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, a Republican, wants answers from his nominal boss Nixon, a Democrat, as to why the National Guard didn’t arrive until far too late. Kinder tells Fox News’ Martha McCallum that he wants to know whether the White House pressured Nixon into leaving Ferguson unprotected — and why the announcement of the grand jury decision couldn’t have been made this morning rather than at night:
Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) tore into Gov. Jay Nixon (D) on Tuesday morning for keeping National Guard troops away “while Ferguson burned” during protests the previous night.
“What the vast majority of Missourians are asking this morning is, ‘We see the National Guard rolling in this morning, … where were they last night?’ The law-abiding citizens, and businesses owners, and taxpayers of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have the right to ask this governor to answer some questions,” Kinder charged in a Fox News interview. …
Kinder argued the delay in sending additional troops showed Nixon’s administration had probably been pressured by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. He also lamented that the governor’s office had shut him out of the decision-making in responding to the Ferguson protests.
“Why were they not in there at the first sign of an overturned police car, or a smashed police car window, with a show of force that would have stopped this? And here’s my question that the governor must answer: Is the reason that the National Guard was not in there because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out? I cannot imagine any other reason,” Kinder said.
Kinder says the media has to ask the questions, because Nixon won’t respond to Kinder’s requests for information. Kinder asked for a briefing this morning from the governor’s office prior to his media appearance, but got no response at all from them. That sounds tremendously dysfunctional, to say the least, and a little suspicious as well. Kinder got elected by Missouri voters to do his job the same as Nixon did, and freezing him out — especially during a crisis — is completely irresponsible at the very least.
Nixon tweeted out the deployment this morning, but without an explanation for not deploying them last night:
After a chaotic night of demonstrations that erupted in many fires, frequent bursts of gunshots, looting and waves of tear gas, Gov. Jay Nixon said early Tuesday that he would send additional National Guard troops to help quell the worst violence this battered St. Louis suburb has seen since a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August.
In a tweet, Governor Nixon said he was meeting with law enforcement and National Guard on Tuesday “to ensure people and property will be protected.”
“Violence like we saw last night cannot be repeated,” he said.
Perhaps some of it could have been prevented. Kinder would like an answer as to why Nixon didn’t bother to try, and one assumes a lot of Missourians have the same questions. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles certainly does (via White House Dossier):
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.