Former President Donald Trump is arguably the most obstinate American politician of his generation. It may come as a surprise that Trump has any regrets, given how unyielding he appeared to be during his presidency.
Vanity Fair published a substantial extract from Carol Leonning and Philip Rucker’s forthcoming book “I Alone Can Fix It,” proving that 45’s rare regret is divisive. In the summer of 2020, not only was a deadly COVID-19 epidemic unleashed but George Floyd was also murdered by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd’s death in May 2020 spurred protests from individuals and organizations across the US and in over a dozen countries under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement. While some protests were peaceful, others were not, and havoc ensued.
“I think if I had it to do over again, I would have brought in the military immediately,” Trump told Leonning and Rucker, believing he didn’t respond correctly to the protesters’ uproar.
The threat was made, even though Trump never used the Insurrection Act. He put pressure on states to mobilize their National Guards to deal with the looting and unrest. On Monday, June 1, the then-commander-in-chief said at a press conference in the Rose Garden that he “highly advocated to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we control the streets.”
“Until the violence is quelled, mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence,” he continued. “If a city or state refuses to take the steps necessary to protect its citizens’ lives and property, I will dispatch the United States military to settle the situation for them.”
Trump did send federalized National Guard troops to Washington, D.C., in June of last year as George Floyd protests erupted, and his administration later sent federal police to cities like Portland, Oregon, in response to protests, but he never called out full-time military personnel as President Dwight Eisenhower did.
According to a statement made to USA Today earlier this year by William Banks, a Distinguished Professor on the Board of Advisors of Syracuse University College of Law, Trump did have the power to call in soldiers. However, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which restricts the federal government’s ability to utilize federal military soldiers to enforce domestic legislation within the United States, raises constitutional concerns about the decision.
The last time the Insurrection Act was utilized was by George H.W. Bush in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles when four white police officers accused of attacking Rodney King were acquitted. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots lasted from April 29 to May 2 and resulted in the destruction of businesses and properties as well as the deaths of several dozen people.