(Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump suggested this week that he would use the military to crack down on violent crime in big cities if he is reelected in 2024, the Associated Press reported.
While campaigning in Iowa, Trump argued that he wanted to use the military to quell violence in Democratic cities, which he called “crime dens,” during the 2020 riots but was prevented from doing so.
“The next time, I’m not waiting. One of the things I did was let them run it and we’re going to show how bad a job they do,” he told supporters. “Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer.”
Trump’s campaign has not specified how he would use his authority as commander-in-chief. But experts familiar with his campaign’s thinking said he could use the Insurrection Act, which allows presidents to call on reserve- or active-duty military units to respond to unrest in the states.
“The principal constraint on the president’s use of the Insurrection Act is basically political, that presidents don’t want to be the guy who sent tanks rolling down Main Street,” said Joseph Nunn, a national security expert with the far-left Brennan Center for Justice. “There’s not much really in the law to stay the president’s hand.”
Notably, the Insurrection Act is also exempt from the Posse Comitatus Act, which generally prohibits using the military for law-enforcement purposes.
Other presidents have used the Insurrection Act to crack down on violence. President George H.W. Bush, for example, used the Insurrection Act to respond to the race riots in Los Angeles in 1992.
“There are a lot of institutional checks and balances in our country that are pretty well-developed legally, and it’ll make it hard for a president to just do something randomly out of the blue,” said Michael O’Hanlon, director of research in foreign policy at the far-left Brookings Institution.
“But Trump is good at developing a semi-logical train of thought that might lead to a place where there’s enough mayhem, there’s enough violence and legal murkiness” to call in the military, O’Hanlon added.