Trump poised to mobilize military: ‘These are acts of domestic terror’
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said.
Calling protests across the U.S. “acts of domestic terror,” President Donald Trump on Monday said he will mobilize the U.S. military and other federal assets to end “the destruction and arson” if local officials do not take stronger actions against demonstrators.
“I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America by mobilizing all available federal resources civilian and military to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans including your second amendment rights.”
Trump spoke as cities across the U.S. was grappling with looters and violence drowning out the voices of peaceful protesters in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“The spilling of innocent blood is an offense to humanity, and a crime against God. America needs creation not destruction. Cooperation not contempt, security, not anarchy. Healing not hatred.”
Local officials in Chicago, the state of Illinois and across the nation have ordered curfews and National Guard troops to assist local law enforcement.
“These are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror. The destruction of innocent life. And the spilling of innocent blood is an offense to humanity, and a crime against God. America needs creation not destruction. Cooperation not contempt, security, not anarchy,” Trump said.
He also put pressure on governors to increase their use of the National Guard. “Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets, mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence, until the violence has been well. If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
Pritzker appeared on MSNBC and CNN shortly after Trump, said he was not going to ask for active military troops to be deployed to Illinois. “We will not be doing that and I can’t imagine any state will do that,” he told MSNBC.
On CNN, Pritzker said, “Well, it’s illegal. He can’t do it. We won’t request military assistance here in the state of Illinois. I can’t imagine why any governor is going to do that. This is, it’s ridiculous.
Earlier Monday, in a conference call, Trump urged governors “to dominate” with arrests or look “like a bunch of jerks.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, on the call, hit back over White House rhetoric.
“It’s been inflammatory, and it’s not OK for that officer to choke George Floyd to death, but we have to call for calm. We have to have police reform called for. We’ve called out our National Guard and our State Police, but the rhetoric that’s coming out of the White House is making it worse,” Pritzker said. “And I need to say that people are feeling real pain out there. And we’ve got to have national leadership in calling for calm and making sure that we’re addressing the concerns of the legitimate peaceful protesters. That will help us to bring order.”
Trump responded, “OK, well thank you very much, J.B. I don’t like your rhetoric very much either because I watched it with respect to the coronavirus and I don’t like your rhetoric much either. I think you could have done a much better job, frankly.”
The president also told Pritzker the country needs “law and order.”
The Insurrection Act
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany at the Monday briefingsaid Trump may invoke “The Insurrection Act” in order to have the legal authority to deploy active duty U.S. military to states.
“The Insurrection Act, it’s one of the tools available, whether the president decides to pursue that, that’s his prerogative,” McEnany said.
The 1807 law enables a president to deploy the military “to suppress, in any State, any insurrection,domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.”
As protests swell outside the White House, with military police also present, Trump said he was dispatching soldiers to D.C.; some military police were already on duty near the White House.
As for Washington, Trump said, “As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting looting vandalism assaults and the wanton destruction of property. We are putting everybody on warning our seven o’clock curfew will be strictly enforced. Those who threaten innocent life and property will be arrested detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organizers of this terror, to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence.”
Contributing: Tina Sfondeles