Vela Statement on Trump’s Calls to Use our Military Against American Protestors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Filemon Vela (D-TX), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after President Trump used force against peaceful protestors and threatened to deploy the military across the United States against the desires of State leaders and without invoking the more than 200 year-old Insurrection Act. The President’s calls for heavily armed military personnel to conduct law enforcement is illegal unless under extremely exceptional circumstances.
“I stand with all those who are peacefully protesting police brutality and a criminal justice system that has time and time again failed Black Americans and minority communities. I also strongly condemn the actions of the few, who are inciting violence and looting as a way to distract from the true issue at hand – the killing of Black lives.
“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, the President has chosen to exacerbate the anguish, pain and fear our communities are experiencing. The President, rather than take a stance of compassion and concern to address these ongoing national issues, has instead chosen to further flame tensions.
“Trump’s actions last night undermine the Constitution and sever the values that our military and all Americans have entrusted for 200 years. Yesterday, just a few days after he went to hide in a bunker, Trump called for activating the American military against its own citizens exercising their first amendment right of peaceful protest so that he could walk across the street and stand in front of a church. As we learned in history class, Posse Comitatus prevents the President from using the United States military against its own citizens. Its founding was intended to prevent the President from oppressing the American people on their own soil. His unproven accusations that these protests are being coordinated by terrorist organizations, and disregard for the powers given to the States, put America on a dangerous course towards a dictatorship.
“In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others whose names we unfortunately do not know, we must aim our focus on obtaining justice and changing the system that allowed these lives to be lost in such a horrific and dehumanizing way. The escalating situations and protests in Minneapolis and around the country are, at their core, the direct result of our justice system’s failure to address the underlying causes of the continued death of minority communities at the hands of rogue law enforcement officials, like Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane, and Tou Thao, that dishonor all the others who serve and protect us every day.”