Byrne: ‘Absolutely no reason’ for Trump to deploy active-duty U.S. forces in American cities right now
Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Wednesday spoke out against the possibility of President Donald Trump using the U.S. military at this time to protect American cities from rioting.
Trump earlier this week said he could invoke the Insurrection Act and send active-duty military personnel to squash violence, looting, arson and other lawless behavior that has been occurring in certain cities across the nation.
“If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump warned.
Some states have already called in their respective National Guard to assist law enforcement officers, which does not require the Insurrection Act because they are reserve personnel acting under the policing authority of each state. Trump in a phone call on Monday reportedly berated certain governors for being “weak” and not utilizing their National Guard to maintain law and order.
While noting he was “very proud” of the National Guard members who have gone out to help across the country, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Wednesday partially broke with the president, saying there was no need for the Insurrection Act as things currently stand.
“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 situations,” Esper said, per Fox News. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
In a tweet, Byrne backed Esper on the issue.
“I agree with Secretary Esper. At this time, there is absolutely no reason to use the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty U.S. forces. That is a tool that should only be used as an absolute last resort,” the Coastal Alabama congressman said.
Byrne is a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and its Subcommittees on Seapower and Projection Forces and on Strategic Forces.
In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey on Monday morning announced that she has given authorization to Adjutant General Sheryl Gordon with the Alabama National Guard to activate up to 1,000 guardsmen, should the need arise in response to violent civil unrest. As of Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., no guardsmen had been deployed in the state.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn