President Trump on Sunday announced the withdrawal of National Guard troops in Washington D.C., sent in to quell violence at protests over the death of George Floyd, capping off a showdown between him and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser that featured the invocation of a rare constitutional amendment.
“I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control,” the President tweeted.
He noted that the troops can “quickly return, if needed,” but said that turnout at Saturday’s protest fell short of anticipated levels, reducing the need for such (though videos of the protest showed a massive crowd marching across the National Mall)
Trump initially mobilized the National Guard on the fourth day of protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the district, which were some of the most violent and tumultuous protests outside Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed.
Widely criticized was Trump and Attorney General Barr’s decision to have the guardsmen, along with the Park Police and other municipal troopers, tear gas protestors at Lafayette Park on Tuesday just before Trump crossed the street for a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Trump had clashed with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser over the presence of Utah guardsmen, with Bowser refusing to allow the municipal government to pay for guards to be quartered in the Marriott.
Many on Twitter were amused by the fact that Bowser’s removal of troops from the Marriott, and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah.)’s denunciation of the move, raised questions about the third amendment implications of their stay. The antiquated amendment, which prohibits the forcible quartering of troops in private residences, has almost never been the subject of a court case since the founding days of the country. Its presence in recent constitutional debate speaks to the unprecedented nature of the protests.
71%. A Morning Consult poll found that an overwhelming majority, 71%, of Americans support calling in the national guard to supplement city police forces to quell violence at protests. 63% of Democrats support such a move, but only 42% of African Americans and 36% of Gen Zers feel the same.
“We should all be watching what’s happening in Washington, D.C., because we don’t want the federal government to do this to any other Americans,” Bowser said of Trump’s response to the protest while marching in DC on Saturday.
The move by Trump comes amid other de-escalations, including the end of New York City’s curfew, as protests have become increasingly peaceful despite retaining much of their original size.