Leftists have been hyperventilating for days that Donald Trump is a dictator attempting to seize power by invoking the power of the military amid the unrest consuming the nation.
However, Trump destroyed those rumors on Wednesday, announcing that “I don’t think we’ll have to” send the US military into cities to quell the riots.
It’s up to governors
As with his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, Trump has been fairly hands-off in his approach to the protests-turned-riots that are wracking many of America’s major cities — a move that has drawn criticism from many on the right.
In an appearance on Newsmax TV’s “Spicer and Co.” with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday, Trump addressed the rapidly growing rumors that he is planning to call in the military to restore peace in the US.
Spicer asked, “will you send in the military to any cities in particular to restore that law and order?”
“Well, it depends. I don’t think we’ll have to. We have very strong powers to do it,” Trump responded, adding that “The National Guard is customary, and we have a very powerful National Guard, over 300,000 men and women. And we can do pretty much whatever we want as far as that.”
Dozens of states have called up the National Guard to back up strained police forces attempting to quell the violence, though some Democrat leaders have refused to call up or allow the Guard to step in — most notably New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Trump continued, “But as far as going beyond that, sure, if it was necessary. We have Antifa. We have anarchists. We have terrorists. We have looters. We have a lot of bad people in those groups.” Trump declined to explain the precise criteria for superseding governors and sending in federal troops.
Conflict in the cabinet
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany echoed Trump’s comments on Wednesday as well, reiterating that Trump has the power to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, which would allow him to direct federal troops to suppress the riots.
When questioned about Trump’s approach to the possibility of calling in the military, McEnany replied that “the President has the sole authority to invoke the Insurrection Act. It is definitely a tool within his power. This President has one singular aim, and it is protecting America’s streets.”
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, however, is reportedly on thin ice after openly opposing invoking the rule. “As a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard, 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,” Esper said on Wednesday.
“We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”