Defense Secretary Says Insurrection Act a ‘Last Resort’ For Dire Situations - ‘We Are Not in One of Those Situations Now’
Do you agree that the Insurrection Act & military deployments aren’t needed to restore public order right now?
by Causes | 6.3.20
What’s the story?
- In a press briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters that he doesn’t support invoking the Insurrection Act to use active duty military forces to support the National Guard & local law enforcement in restoring order & quelling riots at this time:
“I’ve always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations, in support of local law enforcement. I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also 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. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
- President Donald Trump has urged governors to use their National Guard units to help state & local law enforcement prevent violent rioting in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, and has warned that if they’re unwilling or unable to restore order that he would deploy active duty military troops under the Insurrection Act to do so. On Monday during an address from White House, President Trump said:
“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 quelled. 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.”
- The Insurrection Act has been used a dozen times since World War II by presidents to restore public order during times of civil unrest without the constraint of the Posse Comitatus Act. It can be invoked in response to a request from a governor or unilaterally by the president if local authorities are unable to control unrest in a manner that allows enforcement of federal law or the protection of individuals’ civil rights.
- During a White House press briefing on Wednesday hours after Esper’s remarks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany reiterated that the president has the authority to invoke the Insurrection Act if needed in response to questions:
“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 ― it is protecting America’s streets. We cannot have burning churches. We cannot have police officers who are shot. We cannot have businesses that are looted and destroyed. The Insurrection Act is a tool available, the president has the sole authority, and if needed, he will use it, but at this time he is relying on surging the streets with the National Guard, it has worked to great effect here in D.C. and in Minnesota as well.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: The White House via Flickr / Public Domain)
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