Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens sent the Missouri Highway Patrol to St. Louis last month amid a surge in shootings and assaults there, part of a nationwide trend of rising violence in some large cities. The killings have rattled neighborhoods and embarrassed city officials, many of them Democrats. Governors, mostly Republicans, are sending in their troops to fight urban crime, reopening historical tensions, the Washington Post reports. The governors’ actions mirror President Trump’s vow to send in federal agents to curb crime in Chicago, which he said had reached “epic proportions.” In St. Louis, Greitens said, “We are rolling up our sleeves and taking strong action to protect people.” Lyda Krewson, the new Democratic mayor of St. Louis, supports the plan, although she disagrees with Greitens on many other issues. In 1995, she saw her husband fatally shot during an attempted carjacking in front of their home. Still, Missouri’s intervention is unsettling some local residents who question the governor’s strategies and tone.
The debate threatens to drive another wedge between heavily Democratic cities and GOP leaders in statehouses and in Washington. St. Louis has recorded more than 110 homicides this year, which could become the city’s deadliest in two decades. Last month, after 25 people were shot in a Little Rock nightclub, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson organized state troopers and FBI agents to respond to “a looming cloud of violence.” In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott pledged to use “all lawful means” to snuff out a serious “gang problem” in Houston. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster used warlike language when announcing a plan for more state resources in Myrtle Beach, where homicides threatened the city’s reputation as a family-friendly beach destination. The governors are Republicans, and their actions come as President Trump has used tough-on-crime rhetoric. Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police said GOP governors know that crime “has been a good issue” for Trump.