Jun 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

States push back on Trump's promise to send in military to quell street violence

US President Donald Trump leaves the White House on foot to go to St John's Episcopal church across Lafayette Park as officers stand  behind him

President Trump leaves the White House on foot to go to St John's Episcopal Church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. Photo :Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said in his Rose Garden remarks: "If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them."

The big picture: Legal experts say the president has the authority under the Insurrection Act of 1807 to dispatch the military to states that are unable to put down an insurrection or are defying federal law, AP explains.

  • Presidents have sent the military to Southern states to ensure desegregation of schools, to protect civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, and to L.A. in 1992 to quell riots after four police officers were acquitted of beating and arresting Rodney King.

The bottom line: Use of the act likely would be met with legal opposition, and strong opposition from governors seeing it as an overreaction.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James said the state is prepared to go to court to prevent it: "The President of the United States is not a dictator."
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN, the "rhetoric coming out of the White House is making it worse."

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