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Wisconsin National Guard: No punishment for Kinzinger after border remarks

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon

The Wisconsin National Guard has decided that Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who serves as a Wisconsin Air National Guard member, did nothing wrong when he criticized Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to withdraw troops from the U.S. southern border.

Kinzinger, R-Channahon, recently was critical of Evers on Twitter and Fox News for ordering Wisconsin National Guard troops to leave Arizona.

Wisconsin National Guard spokesman Joe Trovato said last week that the Guard and Evers’ office were looking into whether Kinzinger’s remarks warranted military punishment.

State law prohibits commissioned officers from criticizing their leaders. Trovato said Thursday that the Wisconsin National Guard’s legal team completed a review and found that Kinzinger was speaking as a congressman, not an officer.

Kinzinger, a lieutenant colonel with the Wisconsin Air National Guard who had just completed a mission on the U.S.-Mexican border, said he was not concerned about a punishment because he was not on paid status at the time of his comments.

“I know the rules,” Kinzinger said in a phone interview Feb. 26 with Shaw Media. “I have every right to be critical of the governor or president when I’m not on status.”

Kinzinger said the Wisconsin governor was trying to change the message. The congressman supports using the National Guard at the border because he said the Guard has technology the U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not, which he indicated was used to identify drug and human trafficking.

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