Trump has threatened to send in federal troops, but he hasn’t issued an order to do so. Here’s why he won’t.

Some presidents have issued executive orders invoking the authority of the Insurrection Act, but none of the precedents would serve Trump’s political purposes in issuing an official proclamation. 1/27

Although the federal Insurrection Act (presently 10 U.S.C. §§ 251–255) does give a president the unilateral power to use federal military and law enforcement in response to public disturbances, 2/27

doing so without the approval of a state’s governor or legislature would be tantamount to a military invasion of a state by the federal government. 3/27

Such action would be quite extraordinary, and so far — much to Trump’s disappointment and indignation — no governor has requested Trump’s intervention. 4/27

There have been federal military and law enforcement interventions in response to civil disturbances in recent times, but none provides a precedent for unrequested federal intervention. 5/27

When President George H. W. Bush issued an executive order that sent U.S. troops and federal law enforcement officers to Los Angeles in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots, he did so in coordination with both the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles. 6/27

Lyndon Johnson issued an executive order in response to the 1968 riots in Washington DC that occurred in the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination, but Washington DC is not a state, and has a unique relationship with the federal government under the Constitution. 7/27

(There were riots in more than 100 cities in the U.S. at the time, but no state requested federal intervention, and none was ordered.) 8/27

There are other important differences between current events and the crises of 1968 and 1992. 9/27

I lived through the civil disturbances of those years. I don’t remember them all that well, but the ratio or mix of violence, arson, and other criminal acts to peaceful, non-violent protests seems to me to have been quite different then from what is happening now. 10/27

The 1968 and 1992 riots began with non-violent protests, but these marches and protests were overtaken pretty quickly by violence, arson, and looting. (I especially remember the very large and extensive black neighborhood of Watts in Los Angeles going up in flames.) 11/27

It is true that there has been a good deal of crime, violence and robbery in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, but except for Minneapolis in the first night or two, the present rioting and violence, such as it is, 12/27

feels quite different according to my memory of the events of 1968 and 1992. 13/27

These recollections are borne out by some statistics:

In 1968 (Martin Luther King “Holy Week”), around 3,500 people were injured, 43 were killed, and 27,000 were arrested. 14/27

For 1992 (Rodney King), we have the following statistics: 15/27

Los Angeles 1992 Riots: By the NumbersNumbers and statistics from the 1992 Los Angeles riots tell that violent period’s story in a different way.

What has happened so far in the wake of George Floyd’s killing pales in comparison. (Consider, for example, this reporting tonight by Fox News: 16/27

George Floyd unrest: Cities face new looting amid stronger National Guard response, curfewsCities across the country started seeing new looting on Monday night as nationwide demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis escalated out of control yet again, and as President Tr…

Especially in the last few days, what I’ve seen in the media has mostly been footage of police attacking *non-violent protestors*. 17/27

A perfect example of this is what happened in Washington DC today, when federal police attacked a non-violent, lawful demonstration to clear the way for Trump’s absurdist, buffoonish photo-op before St John’s Church one block from the White House. 18/27

Another important difference is the role that right wing agents provocateurs have played in fomenting and exploiting the current violence in order to incite a race war (or at least a civil war). 19/27

There was plenty of right wing racism in 1968 and 1992 as well — including on the part of local and state police and even federal forces. But there is something new now: the right wing vigilantes who are acting as agents provocateurs to discredit the non-violent protests. 20/27

There are two other precedents of presidential executive orders invoking the Insurrection Act in modern times, but they don’t serve Trump’s purposes either. 21/27

In 1957, President Eisenhower ordered federal troops into LIttle Rock to protect nine black students who were integrating Little Rock’s urban high schools. (Eisenhower did so in defiance of Governor Orval Faubus.) 22/27

Same for 1962, when John Kennedy ordered federal troops into Oxford, MI in response to that state’s resistance to the desegregation of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). That, too, was done (reluctantly) in the face of defiance by Gov. Ross Barnett. 23/27

No governor (wisely) has asked Trump to intervene, and intervention without a governor’s request and approval would be unprecedented — except for 1957 and 1962, and these are precedents that don’t serve Trump’s purposes at all. 24/27

The KKK and other right wing, Christian white nationalist racists have never accepted the Second Reconstruction introduced by the civil rights movement. We saw this in Charlottesville in August 2017 and we are seeing it again today. 25/27

These individuals are actively trying to exploit the legitimate protests over the death of George Floyd. They are, you may recall, the “many fine people” (on both sides) that Trump spoke about during the days of the Unite the Right rally (August 2017). 26/27

And these people don’t *want* Trump and the feds to stop the violence: they want to inflame it — and Trump probably does too.

It’s certainly what he’s actually *doing*. 27/27

The Resistance. Vote Blue: True Blue American. We look forward, they look back. We’re progressive, they’re regressive. @twoodiac