Sec. Of Defense In Favor Of Unleashing The U.S. Military On American Cities
During a phone call President Donald Trump held with the country’s governors amid nationwide protests against George Floyd’s murder, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reportedly urged officials to “to “dominate the battlespace,” according to Politico.
Esper’s remarks were revealed when audio of the call was leaked to the press.
The Defense Secretary said, “The sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace the sooner this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal.”
Others present on the call included Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, who — according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany — discussed studies showing that "when there is an overwhelming National Guard presence it actually deescalates the situation and causes less civil unrest.”
McEnany also said the Trump administration intends to deploy “federal assets” across the U.S. and set up a “central command center,” which will involve Milley, Esper, and Attorney General William Barr, along with state and local officials.
During his phone call with governors, Trump had said he would put Milley “in charge” of the response to the protests.
Politico reported that “governors in 23 states and the District of Columbia had called up more than 17,000 Guardsmen to aid state and local law enforcement in responding to the civil unrest that has spread in major cities throughout the country,” noting that those Guardsmen are under the authority of governors and not the federal government.
The Trump administration said it is not considering federalizing the Guard, despite reports that it is under consideration.
The president has voiced support for a military response to the protests, particularly after Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) called on Trump “to deploy military units by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807.”
"If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let's see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they're facing off with the 101st Airborne Division," Cotton tweeted. Trump responded on Twitter, saying: "100% Correct. Thank you Tom!"
- A defense official told Politico that despite Trump’s tweet, the Pentagon is not considering the move.