Walz Mobilizes Guard Troops He Called “19-Year-Olds who are Cooks” in New Riots

Unlike the last time Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for emergency backup in containing riots after George Floyd’s death, Gov. Tim Walz fell all over himself on Wednesday dispatching the Minnesota National Guard and State Patrol to confront the latest round of looting and regain control of the streets.

Rather than blaming Frey for not being specific enough about his request for troops or waiting for the violence to get worse before responding in force again, Walz did what he claimed wasn’t possible in May, mobilizing the National Guard expeditiously.

A terse news release provided details.

Citing unlawful and dangerous looting and violence in downtown Minneapolis, the Governor has mobilized the National Guard, including a military police unit, in response to a request from the City of Minneapolis.

The Minnesota State Patrol has mobilized approximately 150 troopers—including its Mobile Field Force, Special Response Team, and all available metro area state troopers—in response to rioting in Minneapolis. Troopers will assist Minneapolis Police in dispersing crowds, preventing looting, and making arrests for any violations of law.

Quite an about-face for a governor who in May blamed his failure to respond more aggressively while Minneapolis burned on Frey, as well as what he viewed as the unrealistic expectations others had of the capabilities of National Guard troops who he called “19-year-olds who are cooks.”

But now Walz even chastised the vandals behind the latest violence.

“Minneapolis, it’s time to heal. We must rebuild and recover. Dangerous, unlawful behavior will not be tolerated. The Minnesota National Guard and State Patrol are headed to Minneapolis to help restore order. I remain in close contact with the city and every state resource stands ready to help bring peace,” said Governor Walz.

Just the same, much damage had already been inflicted by the time the guard and patrol hit the ground, according to the Star Tribune.

The rioting’s effects stretched from 5th to 12th along Nicollet, then reached over to the Speedway and the neighboring Greenway Liquor Store near Loring Park. Caution tape surrounded the gas pump and gas station entrance.

“They took everything,” a Speedway employee said, register and all. The retailer was closed and turning away many customers trying to cross the tape.

Many downtown businesses have been struggling to stay afloat financially since March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut many down or limited their operations.

Walz made a spectacle of himself apologizing to CNN for the mistaken, yet brief arrest of one of the network’s reporters during the May riots. But there’s no indication I can find that Walz has  ever apologized publicly to the Minnesota National Guard for his condescending characterization of them, the same troops he has on speed dial because of how effectively they restored law and order once provided adequate resources earlier this summer. Maybe Walz would apologize if he could get on CNN.