Trump's vow to deploy military faces GOP pushback

President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol 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 MurkowskiMurkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Murkowski blasts Trump's election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate 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 GrahamMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Additional airlines ban guns on flights to DC ahead of inauguration Graham congratulates former rival Harrison on being picked to lead DNC 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 ThuneStreamlining the process of prior authorization for medical and surgical procedures McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Republicans eye primaries in impeachment vote 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 ScottMcConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender GOP Sen. Tim Scott opposes impeaching Trump MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters that talk of sending in the military was "premature," while Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Rick Scott will 'likely' join challenge to election results Former NY GOP gov calls election challenges 'grave threat to our freedom' 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 CruzMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Trump impeachment ignites GOP civil war GOP lawmaker gives up honorary college degree in wake of Electoral College vote 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 JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress 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.