A resurfaced video of a speech delivered by former President Donald Trump earlier this year suggests that the 2024 GOP frontrunner could be planning to use the United States military to deter violent crime in Democrat-controlled “crime den” cities if he is elected as president in 2024.
During a presidential campaign event in Iowa, the former president claimed that he was prevented from using the military the way he would have liked in order to reduce the violence in cities and states with Democratic leaders during his first term in office.
As part of a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa, Trump described Chicago and New York City as “crime dens” and hinted that he would be willing to use the military to solve the problem of crime in Democrat-led cities across the United States.
“One of the other things I’ll do, because you’re supposed to not be involved in that, you just have to be asked by the governor or the mayor to come in, the next time, I’m not waiting,” he said. “One of the things I did was let them run it, and we’re going to show how bad a job they do. Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer. We got to get crime out of our cities.”
While Trump has not yet provided the exact details pertaining to how he could use the U.S. military during a second term in the White House, both the former president and his advisers have suggested that he would have the ability to deploy military units throughout the United States.
During the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, the former president warned, “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.”
The Associated Press reported that while the regular deployment of military units inside the United States would represent a departure from the traditional deployment of troops by U.S. presidents, a law established in the early years of the United States could allow Trump to have the power to deploy troops at his discretion.
Throughout the course of his presidential campaign, Trump has suggested that he could use the military to increase security at the southern border, unleash the military against foreign drug cartels, and deploy military units to cities that are overwhelmed with crime.
The Insurrection Act enables presidents to deploy both active-duty military units and reserve units to enforce the law during periods of unrest in individual states or across the country.
The law states, “The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means,
shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.”
Congress first established the Insurrection Act in 1792. Nunn explained that the Insurrection Act was created at a time when the nation lacked a strong local law enforcement presence.
“The principal constraint on the president’s use of the Insurrection Act is basically political, that presidents don’t want to be the guy who sent tanks rolling down Main Street,” said Joseph Nunn, a national security expert from the Brennan Center for Justice. “There’s not much really in the law to stay the president’s hand.”