Donald Trump is vowing to use federal force on US soil to turn back any “insurrection” on election night if Democrats or leftist groups green-light massive protests should voters hand him a second term.
“We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that. We have the right to do that, we have the power to do that if we want,” the president told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a sit-down interview taped on Thursday. She asked him about the possibility of riots that night if he defeats Democratic nominee Joe Biden on 3 November.
“Look, it’s called ‘insurrection.’ We just send in and we do it, very easy. I mean, it’s very easy,” Mr Trump said.
Those seem to be references to the 1807 Insurrection Act, a law that has been used seldomly but allows the commander in chief to deploy troops on US soil in times of crises. Mr Trump floated the idea he would use it to put American military troops in the path of protesters after the killing of George Floyd, a black man, while being choked by the knee of a white police officer.
The president never invoked the centuries-old law amid howling from Democrats and tepidness from many Republican officials about the likelihood active-duty troopers would essentially be in an armed conflict with American citizens on American soil.
Mr Trump used parts of a Thursday night campaign rally in key battleground Michigan to warn Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, if elected, would allow “anarchists” and Antifa members to take over America’s suburbs.
“If Biden wins, the mob wins. If Biden wins, the rioters, anarchists, arsonists, and flag-burners win,” he said.
“Biden and his party tried to lock law-abiding Americans into their homes while they encouraged rioters and vandals rampaging through all in all cases Democrat-run cities,” he said, alluding to local shutdowns due to the coronavirus and Mr Biden’s pledge to order another one if the virus again spreads like wildfire. (That comment, however, ignores Mr Trump himself calling on states to shut down their economies as the death toll was spiking in the spring.)
“You know, Republican-run cities are doing very well. I hope you know that,” he told his loyalists at a large airport rally in Saginaw County, which he won narrowly in 2016. “And I hope you know, like in Minneapolis … we were asked to come in. We went in. We took care of that problem in about, what, 30 minutes?”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies