President Trump has hinted at the use of the Insurrection Act for a while. Now, in the wake of the murder of one of his supporters in Portland, it’s time to use it.
The Act, originally signed into law by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, provides President Trump with the ability to tackle the clear attempts at insurrection taking place in the United States today. In fact 12 U.S. Presidents have used it, from Jefferson himself to John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush during the Los Angeles riots.
If Trump dithers or delays further, the Biden campaign’s latest attempt to portray the violence as Trump’s fault may start to take hold.
Clearly President Trump’s solid base won’t reject him on November 3rd, but there are people – especially female voters (mothers) – who are concerned this violence will spread to their suburbs and that the President needs to act before it does.
MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch laid out the Democrats’ “branding” exercise in trying to bring violence to ordinary people and then blaming Trump for not doing anything about it:
MSNBC's Donny Deustch just admitted on air that blaming Trump for the riots is a "branding" exercise for Democrats. pic.twitter.com/2SnaXnQma8
— Raheem J. Kassam (@RaheemKassam) August 31, 2020
AntiFa and Black Lives Matter have already begun running through residential neighborhoods in cities like Washington, D.C., screaming “if we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no sleep.”
How long can it be before they’re knocking on doors, breaking through windows, smashing cars and other private property?
It’s not long, believe me.
Protesters are making their way through residential areas like DC’s Logan Circle neighborhood, chanting as they try to wake up residents along the march route #DCProtests #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/ZPtYls5O7k
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 29, 2020
The violent mob is ever encouraged by the lack of federal action. And there must be federal action especially on the back of mayors like Ted Wheeler claiming they don’t have a solution to the violence:
Portland's Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler after he admits Oregon's Democrat Gov. Kate Brown refused the national guard: “I’m not sure how you specifically, operationally can prevent this”https://t.co/5HfJxGcuyU pic.twitter.com/LMRulcxOoC
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 30, 2020
So when local officials and state officials both refuse to deal with an emerging war on American streets, what’s the solution?
That’s precisely what the authors of the Insurrection Act had in mind.
NO PERMISSION REQUIRED.
The Congressional Research Service confirmed the powers of the President in a paper published in 2006:
Congress has delegated authority to the President to call forth the military during an insurrection or civil disturbance, 10 U.S.C. §§ 331-335.
Section 331 authorizes the President to use the military to suppress an insurrection at the request of a state government, which is meant to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to protect states against “domestic violence” (although the term “insurrection” is arguably much narrower than the phrase “domestic violence”).
Section 332 delegates Congress’ power under the Constitution, art. I, § 8, cl. 14, to the President, authorizing him to determine that “unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States” and to use the armed forces as he considers necessary to enforce the law or to suppress the rebellion.
Section 333 permits the President to use the armed forces to suppress any “insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy” if law enforcement is hindered within a state, and local law enforcement is unable to protect individuals, or if the unlawful action “obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”
This section was enacted to implement the Fourteenth Amendment and does not require the request or even the permission of the governor of the affected state.
The Insurrection Act has been used to send the armed forces to quell civil disturbances a number of times during U.S. history, most recently during the 1992 Los Angeles riots and during Hurricane Hugo in 1989, during which wide-spread looting was reported in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
If the President decides to respond to such a situation, generally upon the recommendation of the Attorney General and, if necessary, the request of the governor, he must first issue a proclamation ordering the insurgents to disperse within a limited time, 10 U.S.C. § 334.4 If the situation does not resolve itself, the President may issue an executive order to send in troops.
So first, President Trump must issue a proclamation ordering BLM and AntiFa insurgents to disperse. He can give them 48 hours to do so. Dispersal is relatively simple.
Then, if they refuse, he can send in the U.S. military. And he must.
And this isn’t some little-known or little-used power. It was used by Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and George H. W. Bush.
That’s 12 U.S. Presidents – or 26 percent of the nation’s Commanders-in-Chief – who have saw fit to use the power to secure the nation.
It’s time for President Trump to do the same.