The President of the United States, Donald Trump, went so far as to propose the deployment of 10,000 active-duty servicemen within his own country to contain the protests against the death, on May 25 in Minneapolis, of the black citizen George Floyd during an arrest and for which four police officers have been charged.
Only the intervention of the attorney general William Barr, the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, managed to convince the president to forget about the idea after a “tense and heated debate”, according to sources close to what happened to the CBS network.
The intervention of the Army within the borders of the United States is regulated in part by the Posse Comitatus law, which only allows this type of deployment in absolutely extraordinary circumstances such as an invasion, an epidemic or any other circumstance that, according to the President, incapacitates security forces to maintain control of the country. All in all, it is considered an act of absolute last resort.
The discussion took place last Monday, the most tense day of the protests in Washington DC, when the police forcibly dispersed the protesters minutes before Trump left the White House to cross the street and pay respects to the death of Floyd in the Episcopal Church of Saint John.
Both Esper and Milley regretted these moments when they understood that the president had used the security forces for violent purposes only with the intention of making a political gesture and facing the gallery. “Of course they regret having accompanied him on the walk,” added another official source under anonymity to CNN.
In an attempt to satisfy Trump’s demands, Esper and Milley called on state governors to implore them to deploy the National Guard to appease the president.
“If the Guard had not intervened right now, we would have soldiers throughout the country,” CBS sources said.
On Wednesday morning, after two nights of peaceful protests, Esper ordered 700 military personnel from the 82nd Airborne Division to return to Fort Bragg at the beginning of a confusing chain of orders that permanently kept that contingent on the brink of return as Esper went receiving conflicting information about the protesters’ intentions.
With the calmer situation as the days passed, the Secretary of Defense ratified in writing his refusal to resort to the “law of insurrection”, a legislation with more than 100 years old that Trump wanted to use as a legal basis to deploy the Army in American soil, according to