Slotkin Statement on President Trump’s Threat to Deploy Active-Duty Troops to Quell Protests

June 1, 2020
Press Release

HOLLY, MI –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement threatening to deploy active-duty forces across the country to quell protests against police brutality:

"As the wife of a 30-year Army officer, step-mom to Army officers, and someone who has worked alongside the U.S. military in a combat zone, what I have heard from the President on the use of the U.S. military in our cities –– with the support of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs –– has pained me. We now find ourselves at an inflection point: their actions threaten our First Amendment right to protest deep-rooted injustices, and risk long-term damage to one of the few U.S. institutions that enjoys credibility and non-partisan support. The next week will be crucial to determine whether the threats to use military force will be carried out.

"Anyone who has spent time with or in the military will know that on its best days, it represents the best of us. It is diverse and devoted. And it is strongly non-partisan. Our Founders worried that the Presidents would use standing armies to oppress the citizens, as the British had done, and turn us unto a garrison state. They designed our laws to make it hard to use military force at home.

"Over the past three days, the President has threatened the use of “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons,” and told Governors that he would deploy active duty troops to their states if they didn’t comply. The Secretary of Defense described American cities as “battlespace” to “dominate” by force. The President announced the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley –– his senior advisor in wars against foreign adversaries –– would be “in charge” of the federal response to protests nationwide. I worked with General Milley at the Pentagon and I hope he’s thinking seriously about the moral and ethical issues surrounding his role in the coming days. 

"And then, tonight, we saw the images of military police clearing an unarmed, peaceful protest with tear gas so that the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in uniform, could walk across a park for a photo op. It seemed to confirm that the President and senior Pentagon leadership are willing to use the military to further their political objectives. That they are willing to weaponize one sacred, American institution against another. 

"This next week will be critical. We are at a crossroads. I hope our veterans speak out and stand up for the core values they believe in. This is a dangerous path for our institutions, our military –– and our nation."