Cotton: Trump should use Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty military to cities

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Monday that President Trump should use the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to cities impacted by protests and riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Cotton, during an interview with Fox News, said that “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 that this violence ends tonight, not one more night.”  

“What the president can do is say that justice will be done in accordance with law for George Floyd and we will always respect the right of peaceful protests … but the rioting, the anarchy and the looting ends tonight. If local law enforcement is overwhelmed … lets see how these anarchists respond when the 101st Airborne is on the other side of the street,” Cotton added. 

Protests have swept the country in response to Floyd’s death. At least 40 cities have imposed curfews and the National Guard has been activated in 15 states and Washington, D.C., according to CNN

The Insurrection Act is a law, passed in 1807, that gives the president the power to deploy active U.S. military troops on U.S. soil. 

It was used in 1992, when the governor of California requested federal assistance in response to riots in Los Angeles, but has not been enacted since then, according to Just Security

The Associated Press reported on Friday that the Pentagon was readying to deploy active-duty troops to Minnesota if the governor requested additional help. 

Cotton’s comments are likely to prompt questions to other lawmakers, as well as the White House, about if Trump is considering invoking the law. Cotton is a close ally of Trump’s and viewed as a potential 2024 White House contender. 

A senior Defense Department official told The Washington Post on Saturday that “no one in the department is talking about invoking the Insurrection Act.” 

Tags Donald Trump Insurrection Act Tom Cotton

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