Trump's vow to deploy military faces GOP pushback

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE's warning that he could deploy the U.S. military if state and local officials aren't able to quell days of riots is facing skepticism and in some cases pushback from GOP senators.

Trump, speaking at the White House, said he would deploy the military — sparking a new wave of speculation that he could invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy active military troops to states and cities.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Senate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court Senate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court MORE (R-Alaska) warned against further militarization in response to the protests.


"I don't think militarization is the answer to the anxiety and fear, the distrust ... that we feel right now. It is not the response," she said.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Threatening emails raise election concerns | Quibi folds after raising nearly B | Trump signs law making it a crime to hack voting systems Trump signs legislation making hacking voting systems a federal crime Jaime Harrison on Lindsey Graham postponing debate: 'He's on the verge of getting that one-way ticket back home' MORE (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally, said the law should be invoked as a "last resort."

"I don’t think the Pentagon’s keen on getting brought into this unless they absolutely have to. We need to restore order, but using active-duty military troops in circumstances like this is a fairly rare occurrence — so as a last resort," he told reporters.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP coronavirus bill blocked as deal remains elusive Clyburn predicts action on coronavirus relief after elections GOP to Trump: Focus on policy MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, told reporters he would "prefer that these things be handled by the state and local authorities. ... You want to de-escalate rather than escalate."

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDemocrats unveil bill to reduce police violence against people with mental illness Liberals should embrace Trump's Supreme Court nominee Romney slams Trump for refusing to denounce QAnon on national television MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters that talk of sending in the military was "premature," while Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: Obama to hit the campaign trail l Biden's eye-popping cash advantage l New battleground polls favor Biden Quinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas Biden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver MORE (R-Texas), a member of GOP leadership, said that "ordinarily it's a local matter."


"Hopefully he won't do it, it won't be necessary," Cornyn said about Trump's remarks.

Asked if thought the president was floating the Insurrection Act, Cornyn added, "That would be one of the legal authorities he would depend on, but I think at this point that's hypothetical."

The Insurrection Act, passed in 1807, is a law that gives the president the power to deploy active 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 used since then, according to Just Security.

But other GOP senators signaled that they would be more supportive of Trump taking further action if state and local officials are unable to prevent riots or looting.


Asked about Trump's "threat" to use the military, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzQuinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas China could cut our access to critical minerals at any time — here's why we need to act The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE (R-Texas) said it was an "interesting editorializing to use the word threat."

"The president has a responsibility to defend the country. And I'm glad the president is committing to acting swiftly," he said.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Biden: Johnson should be 'ashamed' for suggesting family profited from their name Graham wants to review ActBlue's source of small-dollar contributions MORE (R-Wis.) said the federal government's main response should be investigating individuals involved in riots but that Trump's response could give governors "a little spine." 

"Hopefully, you know, the president talking that way will put a little spine in some of these governors that aren't calling out the National Guard to the extent that they need to to restore order," he said.