- Aides prepared for former President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act in response to the protests last summer, The New York Times reported..
- Three former administration officials talked Trump out of deploying active-duty troops, but aides drafted the proclamation.
- Trump denied he had wanted to deploy active-duty troops in a statement to The Times.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Aides drafted a proclamation in case former President Donald Trump invoked the Insurrection Act to call in active-duty troops in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, DC, The New York Times reported Friday.
Last summer, protestors gathered across the nation following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
On June 1, 2020, Trump expressed interest to former Attorney General Bill Bar, former defense Mark Esper, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, to deploy active-duty troops in Washington, DC, amid the protests last year, two senior Trump administration officials told The Times.
The Times reported that the former president was talked out of deploying the military to patrol the streets by the three former administration officials. Barr told Trump that civilian police forces had enough personnel to respond to the protests and invoking the Insurrection Act could provoke more violence and unrest, according to The Times report.
“We look weak,” Mr. Trump said, according to one of the officials, The Times reported.
But the proclamation was drafted in the event that Trump decided to do so and in the event that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser refused to implement a city-wide curfew – which she later put into place – and other measures to curb the protests, one former senior administration official said Trump was aware the document was prepared.
Trump ultimately never invoked the act, but in an address in the Rose Garden that same evening, he indicated he would deploy the military if city and state leaders declined to take action.
“If the city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residence, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said.
In a statement to The Times, Trump denied that he wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act.
“It’s absolutely not true and if it was true, I would have done it,” Trump told The Times in a statement.
A representative for Trump did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
The Insurrection Act, which grants the president authority to use active-duty troops for law enforcement, has only been invoked twice in the last four decades – once in response to the widespread looting and civil unrest after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and another during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles after the acquittal four Los Angeles Police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King.
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