Michels ad hits Evers on Kenosha riots

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — On the anniversary of the August 2020 riots that devastated Kenosha, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels’ campaign is out with a new social media ad hammering Gov. Tony Evers on his handling of the destructive demonstrations.

The ad, titled “No Regrets,” opens with a clip of a mask-wearing Evers telling reporters that his administration had “filled every request” for assistance as the rioters — like the fires they set — raged out of control.

Evers is caught in a lie, as the video includes audio of a newscaster reporting that Kenosha County officials were “frustrated after their request to deploy 1,500 National Guard members wasn’t fulfilled.”

“Our county is under attack. Our businesses are under attack. Our homes are under attack. Our local law enforcement agencies need additional support to help bring civility back to our community,” the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors urgently wrote to the governor.

Scores of businesses, government buildings, and residential properties were damaged or destroyed in the Black Lives Matter riots, causing more than $50 million in damage.

An email obtained by Empower Wisconsin shows a staff member from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s office effectively telling Evers’ top aide to wake up and smell the smoke.

“Maggie – our office have received numerous calls from folks in Kenosha pleading for help,” wrote Julie Leschke, Johnson’s deputy chief of staff to Maggie Gau, Evers’ chief of staff, in a frantic email sent at 8 a.m. on Aug. 26  “They’re really scared and reporting that police are standing down and letting the rioters destroy and take over.”

Leschke asked the same question Kenosha city and county officials had been asking for three days.

“Will you be talking about steps the governor will be taking? Will he accept the President’s offer to help?” the Johnson staffer wrote.

As has been well documented, the governor was slow to deploy the National Guard, and he failed to provide adequate support when he eventually consented. And Evers initially rejected federal law enforcement assistance from then-President Donald Trump in what clearly was an act of political pettiness.

“I did turn down the bringing in the Homeland Security,” Evers says in a clip in the Michels’ ad.

The campaign video is filled with scenes of the chaos from those nightmarish days, including vehicles on fire at a car dealership beneath a “Black Lives Matter” sign.

“I feel confident that we met our obligations,” Evers says in the video. “I would not change anything we did. I have no regrets.”

The Michels ad ends by urging voters to, “Have no regrets on November 8th. Fire Tony Evers.”

Evers campaign did not return a call seeking comment.

Watch the video here.

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