Houston-area Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee became the latest Democratic voice to criticize Trump for threatening to use the military to quell protests and unrest over the killing of George Floyd.
“The president is not going to be the man of hope and peace. It’s going to have to be the U.S. Congress and many others,” Lee said during a virtual panel in the Texas Democratic Convention.
“It’s going to have to be the victory in November 2020,” Lee continued, “because people are seeking hope and all their getting from the president is an insurrection order and the use of the men and women of the U.S. military who should be protecting the American people, are bashing our young people in the streets.”
On Monday, President Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, a move which would authorize the use of the military, not just the National Guard, to suppress insurrections — a tool of domestic policy last invoked to end the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
“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,” Trump said at the White House this week.
So far, Trump has yet to invoke the rule, but that hasn’t stopped federal law enforcement in Washington D.C. from firing rubber bullets and chemicals at peaceful protestors gathered outside the White House.
Lee said Democrats were planning on introducing “major legislation” from her to increase police accountability and prevent fired officers from leaving one job for another. The Houston congresswoman made the comments in a call with other prominent Black female political leaders at the virtual convention, including state Reps. Senfronia Thompson of Houston and Rhetta Bowers of Garland.
“Hate is not a gene that we inherit,” said Thompson, a 23-term veteran of the Texas Legislature. “We never can relax, as mothers, members of this society, and as Black women.”
Monday and Tuesday saw significantly fewer protests in Texas than over the weekend, when demonstrations erupted across the state and led police in two cities, Dallas and Austin, to deploy tear gas against peaceful protesters agitating for change.
A march in downtown Houston in honor of Floyd is planned for Tuesday afternoon. Floyd’s family members and Mayor Sylvester Turner are expected to attend the march.
Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images