However, he indicated that it will trigger a mobilization of security forces of all kinds to maintain order, a mobilization that “dominates the streets” until “the violence has been quelled”. If states and cities are unable to put an end to the unrest, he added, he will send the military “to quickly resolve the problem for them.” Trump promised to “end the riots and anarchy that has spread across the country”. He specified: “We will put an end to it immediately”.
To activate the military throughout the United States, however, the White House must resort to a 213-year-old law, the Insurrection Act. It has been used on other occasions, in the hot years of civil rights battles and the latter in the case of serious racial unrest in Los Angeles in 1992. But then state authorities asked for federal help from President George Bush the father.
A unilateral decision to deploy the army in American cities appears much more controversial, antithetical to respect for the rights of states. Another law, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, prohibits the government from using the army in police operations within U.S. borders. To overcome this with the Insurrection Act of 1807, Trump would have to proclaim an order for the immediate “dispersal of the insurgents” and their return home.
Earlier, during a phone call with state governors, Trump had already shown frustration and anger over the protests that have been going on for seven days over the killing of the African American George Floyd by suffocating police officers in Minneapolis.
“You have to dominate,” he reiterated. “If you don’t dominate, waste time, they jump on you and you look like a sleeve of jerks”. Again: “You are almost all weak”. Some commentators noted that on Friday the President had taken refuge, for safety, in the bunker of the White House besieged by the shouts of demonstrators.