How Donald Trump Could Defeat Violent Protests With The Military

( – In his pursuit of a more aggressive presidential agenda, Donald Trump plans to use the military to quash violence in primarily Democratic cities and states.

In particular, the Republican frontrunner has highlighted the “crime dens” of New York and Chicago in campaigning speeches earlier this year.

Although unconventional, there are relatively few legal obstacles to prevent the nation’s commander-in-chief from deploying the military within the United States. Under the Insurrection Act, a president can call on reservists or active-duty military units to respond to unrest within the country. The 231-year-old Act requires the president to ask participants to disperse; other than that, there’s little the courts can do to prevent deployment.

Any invocation of the Insurrection Act would likely draw skepticism from the Pentagon, now headed by the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown. Following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, Brown was one of eight signatories who urged military personnel to remember their oaths to the U.S. while describing the events of that day as “sedition and insurrection.”

Trump and the GOP maintain popular support among those who have served in the military, with Republicans receiving approval from just under three-fifths of this group in the country’s two most recent nationwide elections.

Presidents have issued 40 proclamations invoking the Insurrection Act, but not since the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Before that, it was invoked on numerous occasions by Lyndon B. Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower – the latter most notably invoking the law when he sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, Arkansas, after the state’s national guard had been ordered to keep black students from attending Central High School.

While military officers are required to disobey unlawful orders, the consequences of disobeying a direct order from the president could leave many reluctant to do so. Unless a future President Trump’s actions were entirely unjustified, the likelihood remains that the military could be called in to disperse protesters.

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