President Donald Trump on Wednesday sent a misleading tweet claiming that he "will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard" to Kenosha, Wisconsin "to restore LAW and ORDER!"
Trump has made "law and order" a central theme of the ongoing Republican National Convention and his overall reelection campaign.
He said in his tweets that Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has "agreed to accept federal assistance" but it was not immediately clear what, if any, federal assistance had in fact been accepted.
The president's authority to send in federal resources is limited without the direct invitation of the state government and decisions related to calling up the National Guard are limited to state governments.
Evers did announce Wednesday he has authorized 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to support local law enforcement.
The decision came after three people were shot and two killed in Kenosha overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.
In making the announcement, Evers' office did not mention the federal government as a source of support but referenced other states, saying “the governor is continuing to work with other states in facilitating additional National Guard and state patrol support.”
However, the president does have authority when it comes to dispatching federal law enforcement resources to act in a supporting role and ensure the protection of federal property. Following the president's announcement, Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said on Twitter that the Department of Justice is deploying "federal assets, including from the FBI and US Marshals, to assist in the response to the riots and unrest." The Department of Homeland Security has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment on if they are sending any assets.
The president's tweets on Wednesday were just the latest in a series of strongly-worded declarations by the president calling for federal forces to be sent to American cities grappling with protests and incidences of civil unrest amid national outrage over racial profiling and use of force by police in the months since the killing of George Floyd, and now, the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man by a white Kenosha police officer.
...TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
"We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)..." Trump tweeted.
Trump has yet to comment on Blake's shooting directly.
First lady Melania Trump called for an end to violent protests in her Rose Garden speech Tuesday night as part of the RNC.
"I urge people to come together in a civil manner, so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals. I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice, and never make assumptions based on the color of a person's skin. Instead of tearing things down, let's reflect on our mistakes. Be proud of our evolution and look to our way forward," she said.
But while the first lady offered unifying words, other speakers at the convention, including the president's son Donald Trump Jr., have offered darker rhetoric in addressing the discord in the country.
"It’s almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting, and vandalism, or in the words of Biden and the Democrats, peaceful protesting," Trump Jr. said in his speech Monday night.