President Trump announced that he is taking “immediate presidential action” by mobilizing federal resources to stop the violent protests that have swept the nation for days and threatened to deploy the military if states don’t send in the National Guard.
“I am mobilizing all federal and local resources, civilian and military, to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans,” Trump said in a brief statement delivered from the Rose Garden of the White House Monday evening. “We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now.”
In invoking an 1807 Insurrection Act to mobilize the military around the country to deal with civil disorder, Trump said his measures would be effective “immediately” and has “strongly recommended” that every governor deploy the use of their National Guard in “sufficient numbers.”
“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Trump 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.
The act was last invoked by President George H.W. Bush during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
“I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters,” Trump stated. “But in recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others. I am taking these actions today to reaffirm resolve and with a true and passionate love for our country, by far our great days lie ahead.”
The President said he is also taking “swift and decisive action” to protect the nation’s capital including dispatching “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property.”
Trump called George Floyd’s killing in the hands of a police officer a “grave tragedy.” He said his administration is “fully committed” to serving justice for Floyd, but said he believed the looters and violent protests are distracting from that goal.
“Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that for George’s family justice will be served. He will not have died in vain,” Trump said. “But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob. The biggest victims of the rioting is peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities. And as their President, I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you.”
Earlier on Monday, the president unloaded on governors in a phone call, accusing them of being “weak” in their response to the riots and urging them to “dominate.”
“Most of you are weak,” Trump said according to a recording of the call. “You have to dominate if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time,” he said, according to a senior staffer in a governor’s office who was listening to the call. “They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”
Following his remarks, Trump left the White House to “pay my respects to a very, very special place” and walked across the street to visit St. John Church that suffered fire damage caused by rioters last night.