On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes which lead to nation-wide protests to oppose the ongoing racism and police brutality against black people.
According to the Insurrection Act of 1807, which allows a president to deploy military forces on domestic soil to enforce the law, Trump is the authority to forcefully halt the protests. Officials in some states disputed that the president had unilateral authority against their will to send in troops.
House Service Committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Smith urged that Trump take his decision back. He stated, “The domestic deployment of our armed services is an incredibly serious undertaking that should not be taken lightly, we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship,” he urged Trump further “to calm tensions across the country, not escalate them.”
The Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, also publicly disagreed with the threatened use of the 1807 Insurrection Act by President Trump on Wednesday to quench widespread unrest.
In a briefing at the Pentagon, he 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. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”