Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807.

“Once again, we find ourselves on the precipice of an historic abyss that has been made more terrible by the President of the United States. We are facing a global pandemic, economic collapse, and a national uprising in response to George Floyd, a Black man, having the life crushed out of him by white police officers – a direct result of generations of systemic racism that has festered and been tolerated. The President’s response is to create further crises by threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807.

“Make no mistake, the President is an autocrat and gravitates to authoritarian measures whenever he is presented with a crisis. He is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by taking volatile situations amid peaceful protests and lacing them with gasoline and dynamite. He and his administration are doing this to distract from the need to examine the root cause of these catastrophes in order to find solutions and achieve change. They are doing this because calamity and violence is the means to their end of domination by division – of holding power by crippling governance and decency at every level.  The carnage the President spoke of in his inaugural address is before us.

“There has been no legitimate reason cited for the President’s call for deploying active duty US soldiers to police US streets. No state has requested the deployment of federal troops to take over their communities. There is no rational, rightful, or truthful claim that federal law is not being enforced or that this action is needed to ensure Civil Rights are protected.

“That is why Congress can and must move forward in its duty to conduct oversight of the President’s brazen debasement of our most sacred legal foundations. And we are not alone. The Courts, Civil Rights organizations, and outraged Americans will be watching intently for any misappropriation or perversion of the law and ready to defend the tenets of our democracy if or when it occurs.

“As Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, I join Committee Chairman Adam Smith and our colleagues in the task of further holding the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense to account for any exploitation or misuse of our armed forces against American citizens.

“We do this so that the calm, thoughtful leadership that is so desperately needed right now can be restored. We will not let President Trump’s campaign of terror and propaganda get in the way of addressing the root cause of racism that has unleashed another burst of unrest. We will fight to make him answer for using military force to attack peaceful protesters and clergy members so that he can use a church while brandishing one of the most sacred texts in the Judeo-Christian faith as though it were a mere prop on his shameful and pathetic stage.

“As many of us have noted over the years, his failures and weakening grasp of power have triggered him to lash out in ways that we have long feared. As those failures continue, his trashing of our institutions, principles, and social fabric will worsen. But to put things in terms that he might grasp, he will not win. America is not and will not become a tin-pot dictatorship. Americans will not tolerate an authoritarian state. No matter our political differences, we all share a love of and respect for freedom and the US Constitution. We all know the foundation of our country is stronger than any one person, group, or party who would seek to destroy it for their own power and gain.”