Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday distanced himself from President Donald Trump, saying he does not believe the use of active troops is necessary to contain the wave of protests in the country triggered by the death in police custody of African-American George Floyd.
“The option of using active troops in the role of guarantors of the law should only be used as a last resort, and only in the most urgent and extreme situations,” Esper said in a press conference from the Pentagon.
“We’re not in one of those situations now. I cannot bear to invoke the Insurrection Law,” he said of the possibility of using the army in the interior of the country, which the president raised earlier this week.
On Monday, Trump announced his willingness to deploy “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers” and law enforcement officers to stop the unrest in Washington DC, after several nights of protests and looting in the capital.
Shortly after the televised message, protesters gathered outside the White House were suppressed with tear gas.
Although the tension has eased in the last 24 hours, the protests do not cease in the United States, where at least 40 cities have decreed a curfew and remain under National Guard custody, and even this Tuesday the U.S. capital experienced an unexpected potluck as the protesters continued in front of the White House.
More than a week after the African-American George Floyd died of asphyxiation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, due to the pressure on his neck from the knee of a white policeman, scenes of protest demonstrations in the streets are repeated in different U.S. cities, but the destruction and looting of other days have subsided.