News

U.S.

Defense Secretary Comes Out against Deploying Military to Put Down Riots

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, January 14, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper drew the ire of the White House Wednesday for publicly stating that he opposed invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty military to states beset by unrest, after President Trump said Monday that he would invoke the act if states did not “dominate the streets.”

“I have always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best-suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations,” Esper told reporters. “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 of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.”

In an interview with NBC News, the defense secretary also called Trump’s Monday walk to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was damaged by fire during riots on Sunday night, a “photo op.”

Multiple reports said White House officials were surprised and disappointed with Esper’s comments, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not say whether Trump still has confidence in Esper when asked at her Wednesday press conference.

“As of right now Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper,” McEnany said. “Should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future.”

Trump said during a Rose Garden address Monday night that he would send in the military unless state governors deployed the National Guard “in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.”

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) first raised the Insurrection Act as an option on Monday morning, and wrote a Wednesday op-ed in the New York Times after Esper’s comments, reiterating his call for troops on the ground.

The Associated Press then reported Wednesday afternoon that, after a White House meeting, Esper reversed a prior decision to send approximately 200 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne home after they had been in D.C. to help deal with ongoing tension.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Popular

Val Demings vs. Susan Rice

The website PredictIt now shows California senator Kamala Harris as the clear frontrunner in the Biden veepstakes, with close to a 50 percent chance of getting the nod. The second most likely Biden VP, according to the site, is Florida congresswoman Val Demings -- who is at 14 percent -- and in third place is ... Read More

Val Demings vs. Susan Rice

The website PredictIt now shows California senator Kamala Harris as the clear frontrunner in the Biden veepstakes, with close to a 50 percent chance of getting the nod. The second most likely Biden VP, according to the site, is Florida congresswoman Val Demings -- who is at 14 percent -- and in third place is ... Read More

The Year of Stupid

It turned out that the novel coronavirus was only the second-most-infectious disease to spread through the U.S. this year. Satan’s Cupcake has, after all, been diagnosed in less than 1 percent of Americans. The not-so-novel imbecility virus is, on the other hand, ravaging the minds of everyone from news ... Read More

The Year of Stupid

It turned out that the novel coronavirus was only the second-most-infectious disease to spread through the U.S. this year. Satan’s Cupcake has, after all, been diagnosed in less than 1 percent of Americans. The not-so-novel imbecility virus is, on the other hand, ravaging the minds of everyone from news ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Good Riddance to the Blaine Amendments

It took a century and a half, but the Supreme Court finally rejected the Blaine amendments. The Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is a victory for religious believers, schoolchildren, poor and working-class parents, and the rule of law. It is a loss only for bigots, militant ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Good Riddance to the Blaine Amendments

It took a century and a half, but the Supreme Court finally rejected the Blaine amendments. The Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is a victory for religious believers, schoolchildren, poor and working-class parents, and the rule of law. It is a loss only for bigots, militant ... Read More

What Are Schools For?

In his excellent new book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies (full review forthcoming in National Review) Thomas Sowell advises that it is necessary for us to remind ourselves from time to time of a first truth: “Schools exist for the education of children.” Sometimes, the most obvious truths prove to be ... Read More

What Are Schools For?

In his excellent new book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies (full review forthcoming in National Review) Thomas Sowell advises that it is necessary for us to remind ourselves from time to time of a first truth: “Schools exist for the education of children.” Sometimes, the most obvious truths prove to be ... Read More
U.S.

Individual Actions Matter

On the menu today: an update from a reader who is the head of research for a top-ten U.S. hospital, some really intriguing rumors about retirements at the U.S. Supreme Court, and another batch of stories that don’t fit the preferred “coronavirus is devastating the red states!” narrative. Individual ... Read More
U.S.

Individual Actions Matter

On the menu today: an update from a reader who is the head of research for a top-ten U.S. hospital, some really intriguing rumors about retirements at the U.S. Supreme Court, and another batch of stories that don’t fit the preferred “coronavirus is devastating the red states!” narrative. Individual ... Read More