Multiple states have mobilized the National Guard as nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death continued to escalate Saturday night, The Hill reported. The states of Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia mobilized their National Guard earlier on Saturday.
Multiple other states have now joined them, including Texas, Utah, Colorado, California, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee, and Washington.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed the Texas National Guard after the state’s Department of Public Safety deployed more than 1,500 of its own officers.
“Texans have every right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but violence and looting will not be tolerated,” Abbott said.
In Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert deployed the National Guard to Salt Lake City.
“We condemn violence and looting. I have activated the National Guard to help control the escalating situation in downtown Salt Lake City. I once again call on all who are protesting to do so peacefully,” Herbert said in a statement.
Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis deployed the state’s National Guard to the city of Denver, at the urging of Mayor Michael Hancock. Polis said that Hancock “requested the support of the National Guard to help keep people safe and prevent further destruction, and I have granted that request.”
According to Fox News, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson activated both the National Guard and the Missouri Highway Patrol, declaring a state of emergency.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee deployed his state’s National Guard to Nashville.
“I am authorizing the National Guard to mobilize in response to protests that have now taken a violent, unlawful turn,” he said in a statement.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak did the same in response to riots in Reno and at the urging of local leaders.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee opted for a different approach. The Democrat deployed 200 members of his state’s National Guard to the city of Seattle, but they are all unarmed and will only “assist with infrastructure protection and crowd movement.”
For days, President Donald Trump has called on governors to deploy the National Guard. On Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, slammed Trump over the suggestion. On Saturday night, Biden condemned the violence.
Trump and Attorney General William Barr have explicitly blamed Antifa and other left-wing organizations for the riots, and some of Trump’s allies have criticized the way Democratic mayors and governors are handling the situation.
The president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said in an interview that “idiot Democrats” are responsible for the riots. Giuliani slammed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, and also criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.