US President Donald Trump said in an interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday he does not believe that he would have to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the US president to use the armed forces to quell unrests.
When asked whether he was ready to send troops to protest-hit US cities, US President Donald Trump said: "It depends, I don't think we'll have to."
If necessary, US President Donald Trump has the authority to invoke the legislation, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters earlier in the day, TASS reports.
"The President has the sole authority to invoke the Insurrection Act. It is definitely a tool within his power. This President has one singular aim, and it is protecting America’s streets," McEnany said.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper earlier opposed the idea, saying that "the option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations." "We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act." he added.
The 1807 bill permits the federal deployment of military force into the states to suppress insurrections. It was last invoked during riots in Los Angeles in 1992.
Mass unrest has engulfed many US states over the death of an African-American Minneapolis man named George Floyd. He died after a police officer kneeled on his neck and choked him to death while being taken into custody. On May 26, all police officers involved in the deadly arrest were fired. One of them was charged with second-degree murder, while three others - with aiding and abetting murder and second-degree manslaughter.
To counter the riots, local law enforcement is often supported by the US National Guard. So far, 40 cities, including New York and Washington, have enacted a curfew.