President Trump on Monday said he would mobilize “all available federal resources, civilian and military” to clamp down on protests across the country, declaring himself the “president of law and order” as police aggressively dispersed protesters gathered outside the White House.
Trump said he was dispatching the military across Washington, D.C., and urged governors nationwide to “dominate” their streets with National Guard deployments. If they refused, he said, he would send troops to American cities.
“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” he said. “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the U.S. military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
It was not immediately clear under what authority Trump could deploy U.S. troops to patrol states without governors requesting them. A senior Defense Department official said Trump had not enacted the Insurrection Act, which gives the president the power to deploy active military troops on U.S. soil. It was last used in 1992 to respond to riots following the acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King.