President Donald Trump is facing criticism from Democrats and some in the media for his decision to send federal law enforcement officers to Portland, Oregon in response to destructive riots.
As evidenced by a letter signed by dozens of retired flag-rank officers, however, many individuals who have had to carry out similar orders in the past are cheering Trump’s approach, according to a report from Breitbart.
“Empowered to act”
After weeks of protests stemming from the death of George Floyd, some cities have seen a spike in property damage and violence by demonstrators.
Portland has been among the hardest hit, with photos and video emerging of a scene that resembles a war zone in some areas.
While a number of Democratic leaders have denounced federal intervention as part of the effort to restore peace, some law enforcement professionals believe such decisive action is precisely what is needed.
“If the political leadership of a state and municipality refuses to stop an outbreak of violence or an insurrection that endangers the lives of American citizens, the president has been empowered to act by the Constitution and Congress through the Insurrection Act of 1807 to use the military to restore order,” wrote the group of 46 retired officers, which reportedly includes representatives from the Army, Air Force, and Navy.
As for its reference to military force, the letter stipulated that its signers specifically meant to “include both the National Guard (‘the Guard’) and Active Duty military units.”
“The Guard may not be sufficient”
In especially dire circumstances, the group asserted that “the Guard may not be sufficient” to provide the necessary response.
“For example, Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy both deployed regular military forces during several desegregation emergencies without State consent,” their letter read, according to Breitbart. “The refusal of State and local authorities to stop the destruction of a city by riots should provide the emergency authority necessary to take such an extraordinary measure of last resort.”
Trump himself addressed the issue in remarks he made at the White House on Wednesday.
“Today, I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” he said, according to The Guardian. “We’ll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice.”
While his political rivals try to portray his position as authoritarian, many of those who are not motivated by partisanship remain firmly on the side of Trump’s law-and-order platform.