Protests across the United States have intensified since last week over the death of George Floyd, a black man whose final gasps of“I can’t breathe” while in police custody, were caught on video in Minneapolis.

Many protests have been peaceful, but in several cities, tensions have escalated and violence has erupted.

With unrest growing, President Trump decided to address the nation from the White House’s Rose Garden on Monday in a televised speech.

Moments before he spoke, though, police started to forcibly push out a crowd of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, just outside the White House. Police fired flash-bang shells, gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

Nearby, in his speech, Trump said,“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. 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 president of the United States threatened to deploy active-duty military personnel to states to help quell violent protests across the country — against the will of state leaders.

So, can he do that? Does the president have the power to deploy the military inside the U.S.?

On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, national security reporter Matt Zapotosky answers critical questions about the president’s power to use the military on American soil.

Related reading
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Protests across the United States have intensified since last week over the death of George Floyd, a black man whose final gasps of“I can’t breathe” while in police custody, were caught on video in Minneapolis.

Many protests have been peaceful, but in several cities, tensions have escalated and violence has erupted.

With unrest growing, President Trump decided to address the nation from the White House’s Rose Garden on Monday in a televised speech.

Moments before he spoke, though, police started to forcibly push out a crowd of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, just outside the White House. Police fired flash-bang shells, gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

Nearby, in his speech, Trump said,“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. 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 president of the United States threatened to deploy active-duty military personnel to states to help quell violent protests across the country — against the will of state leaders.

So, can he do that? Does the president have the power to deploy the military inside the U.S.?

On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, national security reporter Matt Zapotosky answers critical questions about the president’s power to use the military on American soil.

Related reading
Previous Episode
Many counties in rural America face vulnerabilities, as Covid-19 surges across areas that were once spared, reporter Abigail Hauslohner explains. Reporter Aaron Blake weighs in on what this shift means for the president, partisanship and public health.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
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The administration's response to civil unrest presents major questions about the president’s approach to power. Can Trump use tactics at home that the U.S. condemns abroad? What are the risks of politicizing the military? Reporter Greg Miller explains.
Thursday, June 4, 2020