Trump threatens to declare 'insurrection' in Washington DC after RNC guests harassed

“No one will be safe in Biden’s America.”

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Friday 28 August 2020 20:19
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'Trump 2020' fireworks light up Washington

Donald Trump has said he may declare “an insurrection” in Washington DC after anti-Trump protesters harassed people who had attended his RNC speech at the White House.

Speaking in New Hampshire a day after the conclusion of the GOP convention during which Mr Trump and the Republicans sought to suggest a vote for Joe Biden would result in a spike in violent crime, he launched a blistering attack on the mayor of the nation’s capital.

He did so after video footage showed guests leaving his White House speech being aggressively harassed in the streets – among them senator Rand Paul. Mr Trump suggested he may be obliged to declare an insurrection in order to allow him to dispatch troops to maintain safety.

“The mayor should be ashamed of herself for that kind of a display of incompetence. Because that’s what’s happening in Portland, and that’s what’s happening all over where we have Democrat-run,” said Mr Trump.

“These are people from all over the world – including members of Congress – they walk out and they get accosted, they get abused, they get spit on. It’s a disgrace. And our country’s gonna change. We’re not going to allow that to happen.”

Donald Trump lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton by less than one point in 2016

Mr Trump said the protesters were “anarchists”, adding: “They’re just looking for trouble. Has nothing to do with George Floyd. Has nothing to do with anything. They don’t even know who George Floyd is.”

“The agitators will go from rioting in the streets to running the halls of government,” he said, adding that people needed to support him to “save democracy from the mob”.

“No one will be safe in Biden’s America.”

He said the federal government was not permitted to dispatch troops unless “an insurrection” was declared, something that dates back to 1807.

Donald Trump thanks Ivanka and 'all of my children' at RNC

“We’re not supposed to go in unless we call it an insurrection. But that’s a big statement. But you know what we’re going to do, we’re gonna have to look at it...because we’re not going to allow that to happen to people that go to the White House to celebrate our country.”

Whether Mr Trump actually goes down this line or whether this is more of his attempt to persuade voters that a vote for the Democrats will leave them unsafe, is unclear.

He threatened to send in troops this summer, after Washington DC and numerous other cities were rocked by protests following the killing in May by police in Minneapolis of an unarmed black man, George Floyd.

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he said in June, in a statement delivered in the Rose Garden.

The president and his top advisors appear to believe the attacks about the violence that has in some cases accompanied peaceful protests for police reform – often in Democratic-controlled cities such as Seattle, Portland and Chicago – is finding traction with voters. Analysts say that while the issue of law and order often appears prominently among concern for voters, but there is no evidence support is failing for the protester demand racial justice and police reform.

During the four days of the RNC Mr Trump made clear the strategy he hopes will see him reelected: polish off the roughest edges of his image, or ideally have others do that for him, and continue to attack Mr Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris as dangerous radicals.

But he faces a tough fight. Polls suggest Mr Biden has a decent lead at this point, even it it narrowing in some of the battleground states.

It was no surprise therefore, that Mr Trump was in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in his first campaign event since the end of the RNC. In 2016, he lost the state and its four electoral college votes to Ms Clinton 47.62 – 47.2.

It was the closest of losing margins and he believes he can make ground there, especially given that New Hampshire handed him his first win in the Republican Primary four years ago, having come second to Ted Cruz in Iowa.

On Friday, Mr Biden announced he was restarting in-person campaigning after having spent the summer relying on streamed messages and interactions.

Mr Trump said: “Today it was announced that Joe Biden is coming out of the basement because the poll numbers have totally swung.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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