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Sen. Cotton calls for force

In recent days violent thugs have believed they could loot, steal and beat innocent people in many of America’s big cities because the Democratic mayors who run them have been reluctant to quell the violence.

But for U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, enough’s enough.

The Arkansas Republican, a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, is urging President Donald Trump to use the U.S. military to restore order — if local authorities can’t or won’t do it.

Cotton, in an interview with Fox News on Monday, said, “If necessary the president should use the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty military forces to these cities to support our local law enforcement and ensure that this violence ends tonight, not one more night.

“What the president can do is say that justice will be done in accordance with law for George Floyd and we will always respect the right of peaceful protests,” Cotton added. “But the rioting, the anarchy and the looting ends tonight. If local law enforcement is overwhelmed … let’s see how these anarchists respond when the 101st Airborne is on the other side of the street.”

According to legal scholar Danielle Crockett, Congress’s willingness to permit the president to utilize troops to tamp down violent unrest is one of the nation’s oldest policies. It dates to the 1792 Militia Act, which authorized the president to tap state militias to stop the violence that threatens the government within individual states or to enforce the laws.

The law was amended in 1807 with the Insurrection Act, which is what Cotton referred to. That authorized the president to use federal troops, including sailors in the U.S. navy, to halt open revolt or execute federal laws. 

President Thomas Jefferson apparently was first to invoke the Insurrection Act. Jefferson did so in 1808 to stop smugglers who were violating a federal law banning English and French goods from entering the country by shipping them through Canada to Lake Champlain, on the border of Vermont and New York.

But it’s been implemented nearly 20 times since then, including by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to protect black students integrating Little Rock High School in Arkansas in 1957, President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to stop a race riot at the University of Mississippi in 1962, by President Lyndon Johnson four times between July 1967 and April 1968 to stop riots in Detroit, Washington, Baltimore and Chicago and President George H.W. Bush during the riot in Los Angeles in 1992. 

Trump said on Monday he would use federal force to “dominate” the rioters if the governors called upon him to do so.

On Tuesday, Sen. Cotton repeated his demand for an immediate troop deployment to reassert control.

“Violent anarchists and insurrectionists were once again allowed to rule the streets last night in too many cities,” Cotton said in a statement. 

“In places like St. Louis, they responded by shooting, beating, and running over police officers who weren’t given the support they deserve to restore order. In Las Vegas, an officer was shot in the head. The only way to end this insurrection is the overwhelming display of force.”

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