The Wisconsin National Guard has decided an Illinois congressman 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.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, was critical of Evers on Twitter and on Fox News last week for ordering Wisconsin National Guard troops to leave Arizona.
Guard spokesman Joe Trovato said last week the Guard and Evers’ office were looking into whether Kinzinger’s remarks warranted military punishment, according to The Associated Press.
State law prohibits commissioned officers from criticizing their leaders. Trovato said Thursday the Guard’s legal team had completed the review and found Kinzinger was speaking as a congressman, not an officer.
Kinzinger, a lieutenant colonel in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, who had just completed a mission on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, had said he wasn’t 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 utilizing the National Guard at the border, because he said the Guard has technology the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol does not have, which he indicated was used to identify drug and human trafficking.