‘Zero tolerance’: Sen. Cotton says US military might be needed to end violent riots across the nation

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) appears to be on board with President Donald Trump’s threat to use military forces on American soil in response to civil unrest that stemmed from the death of George Floyd last week.

In a message shortly before Trump announced in a White House speech that he would consider such a move, Cotton said the U.S. should have “zero tolerance” for property damage and violence that have erupted out of many protests.

“One of the tools available”

Rioting, arson, and looting have put leaders and citizens across the nation on edge in recent days, and the senator believes invoking the Insurrection Act could be the right response. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed on Monday that “it’s one of the tools available” to the president in his effort to tackle the widespread disruption.

Cotton shared his belief that the 19th-century law, which has not been invoked since the 1992 riots that resulted from the police beating of Rodney King, should be on the table.

“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 this violence ends tonight,” he wrote on Monday. “Not one more night.”

National Guard troops have been activated in some states, but Trump dressed the nation’s governors down in a call on Monday.

“Most of you are weak,” he said, demanding that they “dominate” their states or risk looking “like a bunch of jerks.”

“We will end it today”

“I have recommended every governor deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to dominate the streets,” the president said during his Rose Garden address. “We are ending riots and lawlessness, we will end it today.”

Military helicopters were spotted hovering over crowds in the nation’s capital on Monday, and reports indicate a unit of military police based in Fort Bragg had been dispatched to the district.

While he faces firm opposition by Democratic governors and other state leaders, a new Morning Consult poll found that a majority of Americans would approve of such action.

Cotton is in that majority, as he made clear in subsequent tweets advocating for “whatever it takes to restore order.”

No matter what decision Trump makes, it is sure to be met with criticism among those on the left. Holding firm to his promise to be a “law and order” president, however, seems to have a wide base of support among the general public.

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