White House wanted to deploy 10,000 troops to control protests: reports
According to a senior Pentagon official, Attorney General Bill Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley advised against the deployment in an oval office meeting Monday.
“We need to get control of the streets. We need 10,000 troops up here [in Washington]. I want it right now,” Trump said, according the Pentagon official, the Post reported.
A senior Department of Defense (DoD) official told CBS News that on top of requesting deployment of troops, Trump yelled at Esper for breaking with the president when the secretary opposed the use of Insurrection Act. The 19th century legislation would allow the president to deploy the U.S. military nationwide for domestic law enforcement.
President Trump previously said he was weighing invoking the act to quell nationwide protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
Esper then announced Wednesday that he did not support using the legislation in an apparent break with the president.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Several lawmakers have also criticized the president on his response to protests after Monday night, when federal law enforcement removed a crowd of reportedly peaceful protests in Lafayette Square near the White House with the use of tear gas, batons and other methods of force.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis penned a cutting statement in The Atlantic this week offering a blistering rebuke of Trump’s handling of Monday night’s protests in Washington and elsewhere in the nation.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of the caucus’s most moderate members, on Thursday sharply rebuked the president by praising an Mattis’s critique, calling it “true and honest and necessary and overdue.”
Murkowski told reporters on Thursday that she was “struggling” with if she could support Trump.
The president later tweeted that he was going to campaign against her, saying he will endorse anyone with a pulse.