Susan Rice pushes for DC statehood after military presence ordered during protests
Former White House national security adviser Susan Rice says that the federal response to protests in Washington, D.C., illustrates the need to grant statehood to the District.
In an op-ed in The New York Times, Rice blasted President Trump for overruling D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) to use federal forces for crowd control in the District as well as using federal forces to disperse protesters in Lafayette Park using riot shields and chemical agents.
“Largely because Washington lacks statehood, Mr. Trump had the authority to line city streets with military Humvees, to fly Black Hawk helicopters dangerously low to terrorize protesters, to fill the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with military personnel and to deploy thousands of federal forces, many unidentifiable with no discernible chain of command, like Russian ‘Little Green Men,’ to intimidate residents,” Rice wrote.
“For one long week, Mr. Trump transformed my hometown into a war zone to burnish his ‘law and order’ credentials,” she added later.
“Without statehood, Washington was virtually powerless to prevent Mr. Trump from using the capital as a petri dish to intimidate protesters, divide Americans and goad activists into ugly street battles to galvanize elements of his base,” she wrote.
Rice noted that after “some early, condemnable looting” the D.C. protests were largely peaceful, though federal forces increased their presence in the city.
Trump ordered National Guard troops to protect the White House and monuments around the National Mall, though ultimately declined to order active-duty troops into the city.
“Facing down federal forces, my hometown refused to give Mr. Trump any racially charged urban war scenes. So he gave up and ordered troops home,” Rice wrote.
She noted that the city has a population higher than that of Wyoming or Vermont and “is the only national capital in the democratic world whose citizens lack equal voting rights.” She also noted that residents pay more in federal income taxes per capita than any state.
Bowser has made similar arguments in favor of statehood, saying at a press conference last week “we are subject to the whims of the federal government. Sometimes they’re benevolent and sometimes they’re not.”
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