I had Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley on my radio show today to talk about the #NoDAPL protests, and he didn’t pull any punches.
The full audio of the interview is below.
I asked Wrigley about Governor Jack Dalrymple’s recent clarification of an evacuation order for illegal protest camps on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property. Dalrymple said it was not his administration’s intent to block supplies flowing into the camp.
But I asked Wrigley – if the goal is to clear those camps, and if an effort to remove protesters physically is likely to be met with resistance and violence – why authorities would want to let things like building supplies and personnel flow into the camp.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”The protesters have nobody to protect themselves from,” he told me. “They’ve incited every single one of these incidents,” he continued, referring to the violence conflicts between law enforcement and activists.[/mks_pullquote]
Part of it is the current weather. With heavy snow, and plunging temperatures, Wrigley says they want to ensure everyone remains safe. “We don’t want to create a humanitarian crisis,” Wrigley told me. But he also pointed out that the state likely cannot block off the camps without federal assistance.
“We don’t have a federal partner that will help us block people coming in from the south,” he told me, referring to entrance to the land from the Standing Rock reservation which lays just to the south.
Wrigley also told an interesting anecdote about being in the state’s emergency operations center alongside U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp the night protesters were sprayed by a fire hose wielded by law enforcement. He said both he and Heitkamp marveled at how the protesters refused to move out of the water, even as they complained of getting hypothermia, and concluded that they must want to suffer for the nearby livestreams and media cameras.
I also asked Wrigely about news of these veterans – thousands, some reports have claimed – coming to North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for the #NoDAPL protesters.
Wrigley’s response was quite passionate.
“The protesters have nobody to protect themselves from,” he told me.
“They’ve incited every single one of these incidents,” he continued, referring to the violence conflicts between law enforcement and activists.
Here’s the full audio: