Exploiting the Waukesha tragedy has to stop, Wisconsin’s two United States senators said Saturday.
A week ago, an SUV drove into a Christmas parade in the Wisconsin community, leaving six dead and more than 40 injured. Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, a career criminal, has been arrested.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, and with Americans still jangly from the Kyle Rittenhouse and Ahmaud Arbery trials, the crime became caught up in left-right blame games and racial politics amid calls to untangle the motives and actions that led to the incident.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin said it was time to stop the noise and let a grieving community heal.
“It has come to our attention that outside individuals or groups may attempt to exploit the tragedy that occurred last Sunday in Waukesha for their own political purposes,” Johnson and Baldwin said in a joint statement posted on Baldwin’s website.
“As the U.S. Senators representing Wisconsin, one from each political party, we are asking anyone considering such action to cease and desist,” the statement said.
“We have full confidence in the local officials who responded with extraordinary professionalism, competence, integrity and compassion. They have many difficult duties to perform in the coming days, weeks, and months, and they should be afforded the respect and support they deserve to undertake their responsibilities without outside interference,” they said.
Not everyone was on board.
Senator @RonJohnsonWI is asking people to ‘cease and desist’ talking about Waukesha
This was a terror attack killing innocent people.
Senator Ron Johnson of WI should resign!
— Texxtyle (@texxtyle) November 28, 2021
I am never going to stop telling the truth about Waukesha and if these Senators have a problem with it they can just try and stop me
— Jack Posobiec ✝️ (@JackPosobiec) November 28, 2021
“Their top priority is to begin the healing process within Waukesha by providing comfort and support to surviving family members of the deceased, and those injured both in body and spirit,” the statement said.
The statement said local officials “must also conduct a thorough investigation and afford the accused full due process. These will not be easy tasks, and will be made even more difficult if conducted within a politically charged atmosphere.”
“We ask everyone to demonstrate their interest and concern by praying for the victims, their families, and the entire community of Waukesha,” the statement said.
After now-18-year old Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the deaths of two men and the wounding of a third in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Johnson issued a statement on Twitter saying “justice has been served” and expressing hope that Kenosha would be able to “heal and rebuild.
Baldwin, meanwhile, put out a statement criticizing the judge in the Rittenhouse case for dismissing the charge against Rittenhouse for having a weapon while still a minor and urging for all protests to remain peaceful.
On Saturday, the Wisconsin village of Grafton held its Christmas parade, but not without noting the pain of Waukesha, according to WTMJ-TV.
— FOX6 News (@fox6now) November 27, 2021
The Grafton parade was led by two women who carried a banner reading, “We Stand With Waukesha.”
“It’s good to see that our community is celebrating the season, as we all should,” said parade master of ceremonies Michael Cibulka, WTMJ reported.
“It’s just fitting to, you know, give them a little bit of a tribute. Let them know we’re thinking about them, as well as any community that has the privilege of putting on a parade like this,” he said.
As of Saturday, eight patients from the Waukesha attack were still hospitalized at Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee, hospital officials said, according to an Associated Press report posted on WCCO-TV.
The facility originally had 16 patients from the parade. Of the eight remaining children, four are in serious condition, two were in fair condition and two were in good condition.
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