About 1,600 military troops on standby in Washington, D.C., could soon be able to return to their home bases following protests and rioting over the death of George Floyd.
The Trump administration has been weighing the possibility of enforcing the 1807 Insurrection Act, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials who said the possibility of sending troops home was still under discussion.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that he “opposed a decision to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy active duty forces” on Wednesday, TheWSJ reported.
“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper said. (RELATED: Capitol Police Officers Take A Knee In Front Of Protesters, Are Met With Loud Applause)
President Donald Trump said he was unsure if it was necessary to deploy active-duty personnel in a Newsmax interview Wednesday.
“Well it depends. I don’t think we’ll have to,” Trump said of the National Guard’s presence to support police. “As far as going beyond that — sure, if it was necessary.”
Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, privately told the White House that he is against instituting the Insurrection Act, according to TheWSJ. Milley asked for more time for the National Guard troops deployed by governors before mobilizing federal forces, officials reportedly said.
Trump has made it clear that he will not hesitate to deploy federal forces.
“If a city or a 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,” he said Monday.
The Insurrection Act of 1807 allows the president to deploy active-duty troops to states when governors have “lost control” over the people and need federal help to restore order, TheWSJ reported. Though governors are supposed to request assistance, if a local government is infringing on citizens’ rights, the federal government may sidestep the governor.
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