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Trump says he would put down riots on election night 'very quickly'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE said Thursday that he would “very quickly” stifle riots on election night if Democrats organize protests against his potential victory, suggesting he would do so by employing a law allowing him to deploy active-duty troops domestically.

“We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that. We have the right to do that, we have the power to do that if we want,” Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro when asked how he would stop potential riots on election night should he win.

“Look, it’s called insurrection. We just send in and we do it, very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to we’d do that and put it down within minutes,” Trump continued

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Trump appeared to be referring to the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that authorizes the commander in chief to deploy U.S. troops domestically to enforce federal or state laws under certain circumstances. The law has been used in rare and extreme cases in U.S. history, and Trump endured backlash when he suggested he could use the provision earlier this year to quell protests following the police killing of George Floyd.

During a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., in late August, Trump decried protesters who surrounded the White House during the Republican National Convention as “thugs” and suggested he was weighing invoking the law to quash protests in various cities. Trump has repeatedly criticized state and local leaders in Portland, Ore., and New York City for not doing enough to stop protests that have grown violent.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany subsequently told reporters that Trump does not want to invoke the Insurrection Act but wants “to help these cities where he can.”

The president earlier this year threatened to cut federal funding to “lawless” cities, including Portland, Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C.

The president’s interview with Pirro was taped Thursday but is expected to air Saturday evening.