As many Americans grow frustrated with state and local leaders seemingly unable to restore peace and order amid ongoing protests, President Donald Trump and some other elected officials are considering another option.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) advanced this week the suggestion that U.S. military troops should be deployed to the areas hit hardest by violent and destructive riots that erupted out of demonstrations against police brutality.
According to the Washington Examiner, Cotton first addressed the possibility in a Fox News Channel appearance on Monday morning and later tweeted a portion of his remarks.
“Deploy active-duty military forces”
“We should have zero tolerance of anarchy and rioting and looting,” Cotton said, as the Examiner reported. “And if necessary, the president should use the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty military forces to these cities to support our local law enforcement and ensure that this violence ends tonight. Not one more night.”
Cotton provided another tweet further detailing his call for decisive federal action where necessary.
“Anarchy, rioting, and looting needs to end tonight,” he wrote. “If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division. We need to have zero tolerance for this destruction.”
In response to a tweet calling attention to Cotton’s statement, the senator tweeted that he was in favor of “whatever it takes” for order to be restored. He expanded on his position in a New York Times editorial on Wednesday.
“No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters,” he tweeted.
Most Americans seem to agree
Later on Monday, the White House signaled that Trump had been considering invoking the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy military personnel to aid domestic law-enforcement efforts, according to NBC News.
But as USA Today notes, a number of officials, including U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, have publicly distanced themselves from such a military response.
Cotton, however, appears to reflect growing support for using military forces to put an end to lawlessness and destruction on American streets. Newsweek cited a recent poll that found more than half of all respondents were in favor of using troops to assist local law enforcement.
In fact, roughly three in four Republicans and half of both Democrats and independents favored such a response. It is clearly time for action to heal a deeply fractured nation — and most Americans seem to think Trump and Cotton are on the right track.