President Donald Trump gave a statement from the White House Rose Garden on Monday night after a week of nationwide protests stemming from the police killing of unarmed black Minneapolis resident George Floyd. In the speech, Trump characterized the protestors as “professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa, and others” and threatening to “overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.”
“New York’s finest have been hit in the face with bricks,” Trump said of his home city. “I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights,” Trump said, adding that he had recommended that every governor deploy the National Guard to “dominate the streets.”
Trump capped off his comments by threatening to deploy the United States military against protestors if local leaders did not take what he deemed to be sufficient action, saying, “I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail.”
NBC News reported shortly before Trump’s address that he was considering invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to respond to protests, a course of action that has not been taken in America since the Rodney King riots of 1992. “The Insurrection Act, it’s one of the tools available, whether the president decides to pursue that, that’s his prerogative,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.