President Donald Trump has rejected Gov. Tim Walz’s request for federal financial assistance to help rebuild portions of the Twin Cities that were destroyed by rioting.
Nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million.
Walz asked President Trump on July 2 to “declare a major disaster for the State of Minnesota because of extensive fire damage to public infrastructure caused by civil unrest.” Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would have reimbursed local governments for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damage to public buildings, Walz’s office said.
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-06) confirmed on Twitter Friday evening that the president had rejected Walz’s request for federal aid. Emmer said he has asked the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate “how half of a billion dollars in damage was done without an appropriate response from our local leaders.”
I sent a letter to @RealDonaldTrump, AG Barr, @DHS_Wolf & @FEMA_Pete requesting an inquiry into how half of a BILLION dollars in damage was done without an appropriate response from our local leaders. Read my letter here: https://t.co/wxkDJFKs53 pic.twitter.com/sAk3wnROw3
— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) July 10, 2020
Teddy Tschann, Walz’s spokesperson, told The Star Tribune that the “governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support.”
“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,” Tschann said.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) criticized the rejection on Twitter Saturday afternoon.
“We are the seventh-least federally dependent state in America. We subsidize most states. The Trump administration just turned down Gov. Tim Walz’s request for disaster relief after the riots. Our congressional delegation should be unified for Minnesota – not against Minnesota,” he said.
We are the 7th least federally dependent state in America. We subsidize most states. The Trump Administration just turned down @GovTimWalz’s request for disaster relief after the riots. Our congressional delegation should be unified FOR Minnesota – not against Minnesota. https://t.co/qY2DgBV7hi
— Rep. Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) July 11, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said federal support is crucial because local government budgets have been stretched thin by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The people and businesses who make Minneapolis the state’s cultural and economic engine are hurting,” he said. “National leaders need to step up for our residents amid a historically difficult period.”
The people & businesses who make MPLS the state’s cultural & economic engine are hurting.
With local government budgets stretched thin by COVID the need for compassion & support is critical. National leaders need to step up for our residents amid a historically difficult period. https://t.co/iCF6H8nick
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) July 11, 2020
Some national Republicans were pleased with Trump’s decision to deny the governor’s request for federal funds.
“Governors and Mayors who ordered police to stand down and watch their cities burn shouldn’t get a penny in taxpayer aid,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03).
Great news! @realDonaldTrump has DENIED Minnesota's disaster request to repair half a billion dollars in damage from the riots. Governors and Mayors who ordered police to stand down and watch their cities burn shouldn't get a penny in taxpayer aid! https://t.co/8WAgm7AFa7
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) July 11, 2020
State lawmakers are expected to address the issue of rebuilding from the riots during a special session that is scheduled to begin Monday.
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