President Donald Trump’s Monday speech saw him threaten military action to contain violent protests taking place across the United States. In response to the statement, CNN’s Don Lemon warned that America is at risk of turning into a dictatorship and suggested the president may be waging war on the country’s citizens, per Raw Story.
“Is the president declaring war on Americans? What is happening here? He’s saying he wants to protect peaceful protesters, at the same time sending law enforcement and military into the streets to push peaceful protesters back, to be aggressive with peaceful protesters. He is doing the exact opposite of what he said in that speech.”
As reported by NBC News, Trump called himself an “ally of all peaceful protesters” but later threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act. The act would allow the U.S. military to operate within the country. According to Trump, the military will be deployed to “solve the problem” for any city or state that refuses to take necessary action to “defend the life and property” of its residents.
“I think the president is playing a very, very dangerous game here. There are a lot of Americans who are out on these streets who are upset, who are frustrated, who are angry,” Lemon said.
Although the 54-year-old CNN host said he is against violence, he supported the right of peaceful protest — and claimed Trump’s threat would backfire.
Lemon wasn’t the only one unsettled by Trump’s comment. Many commentators and political figures took to social media to express their dismay at the president’s threat.
Trump has just made completely explicit that he wants armed forces, police, and military to "dominate" the American people. That is the essential nature of Fascism.
— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) June 1, 2020
This mr. tough guy move from Trump – apart from being unconstitutional, immoral & insane – is gonna backfire. Everybody I know, left & right, 100% is more terrified of what he's doing than of any of the protests or even riots.
— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) June 1, 2020
Donald Trump is a threat to our liberty, our Constitution, and the Rule of Law.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) June 1, 2020
According to NBC News, some of Trump’s aides have been pressuring him to invoke the Insurrection Act, which was last invoked during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The riots were sparked by the acquittal of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers who arrested and beat Rodney King.
Although governors can request that active-duty troops be deployed to their states, they have not done so thus far. Per NBC News, governors often prefer to rely on the aid of the National Guard, who can engage in law enforcement without violating the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. If Trump invokes the Insurrection Act, he could unilaterally deploy active-duty troops to states regardless of a given governor’s wishes.
As The Inquisitr reported, on Monday Trump pressured governors to be more aggressive in fighting rioters and others spreading chaos amid the country-wide protests. Additionally, Trump called on governors to arrest, track, and jail violent protesters to deter such violence.