Defense Secretary Mark Esper is adopting the language of war to address nationwide protests against police brutality.
President Trump held a call with U.S. governors on Monday after a weekend of protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Trump used alarmingly violent language during the call as he told governors to "dominate" protesters, and Esper repeated that tone as he instructed governors to call on the National Guard to "dominate the battlespace."
So far, 23 states have called in the National Guard to add to the police presence as protesters fill city streets. But "most of the guard has not been called up," Esper told the leaders, reminding them "you have deep resources in the guard." "The sooner you ... dominate the battlespace, the quicker this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal," Esper continued.
During the call, Trump told the leaders he would deploy more "federal assets" to help respond to violent protesters. He has since hinted that he may invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to combat protesters which would be the first time the act was used since the Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King trial. Kathryn Krawczyk