Evers on Kenosha unrest: ‘I would not change anything that I did’
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Governor Tony Evers stands by his actions regarding the unrest in Kenosha that was sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer, despite a wave of criticism, chiefly from conservatives who claimed the governor did not act quickly enough to quell violence.
“I would not change anything that I did,” Evers said at a Milwaukee Press Club event in which CBS 58 was featured on a panel of journalists. The governor said his administration fulfilled every request made from Kenosha area leaders during the unrest. Evers initially declined assistance from the White House but eventually accepted it a day later.
“I have no regrets because the only thing I said ‘no’ to was Homeland Security and I knew that would not work out in Kenosha because of what I saw in Portland,” Evers said.
During the event, the governor was also asked about issues surrounding the pandemic, including the distribution of unemployment benefits by the state where – months after the coronavirus first impacted the Wisconsin economy – hundreds have yet to receive funds from the state.
“That is unacceptable from my vantage point,” Evers said on the topic. He pointed to an outdated computer system at the Department of Workforce Development and an overwhelming amount of claims, but said he is hopeful the issue does not continue into next year.
“I hope in the near future to say definitively when we can solve all the problems we have,” Evers told a panel of reporters.
In a recent CBS News poll, just 21% of Americans say they would get a vaccine for the coronavirus as soon as possible, with 58% saying they would consider it and wait to see what happens and another 21% saying they would never get one. That same poll found that 65% would consider a vaccine out this year to be rushed through, rather than a scientific achievement.
In a Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday, only 35% of those polled said ‘definitely yes’ when asked if they would get a vaccine when one is available, with 28% saying ‘probably yes,’ 15% saying ‘probably no’ and 18% saying ‘definitely no.’
Governor Evers was asked if he would get a vaccine if the Trump administration announced one was ready this year.
“I would take it but I will tell you if I had to prioritize people to get the vaccine, I wouldn’t be one of them,” Evers said, adding he would want hospital workers and first responders to receive the vaccine first.
At a rally in North Carolina Monday night, President Trump told supporters that, “We're producing a vaccine in record time, this is a vaccine that we're going to have soon, very, very soon. By the end of the year, but much sooner than that, perhaps.”
Evers noted that the president’s politicization of the vaccine rollout does not help the situation.
"When you have a national leader who has vacillated up and down on whether there is such a thing as a pandemic and there isn't, and it's a hoax and it's not, and now we're making promises about election day, it politicizes it in a way that it shows up now in the polls," Evers told reporters.
Evers signaled similar feelings about the president’s statements regarding voting and the election but said he is confident in the system in the state to handle both the high volume of absentee ballots by mail and in-person voting with precautions over the coronavirus.
The governor was also asked whether he believes the Green Bay Packers should forego hosting fans inside Lambeau Field this season.
“I’ll support their decisions, I just can’t imagine full stands at any point this year with the Packers,” Evers said. “That would just seem to be unlikely. “
The full Milwaukee Press Club event can be found below: