Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the military to cities is unconstitutional and he will challenge the move legally if the president carries through with it.
Weiser said Colorado’s civilian police departments, particularly Denver Police, are adeptly handling the days of riotous protests over the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis.
The largest crowds and conflicts are in Denver so far where almost 300 people have been arrested or cited — mostly for curfew violations. Gov. Jared Polis has called in the state’s National Guard to help DPD patrol downtown.
“The military is for fighting wars,” Weiser said. “If the president is going to unilaterally thrust upon us a militarization of this situation, we’re prepared to fight him in court.”
Under the Constitution, U.S. presidents can send the military in to help in states to suppress disorder or rebellion. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957 sent in federal troops to Arkansas to enforce calm during school desegregation after a mayor requested it.
Weiser, however, said that’s not an analogous situation to what’s happening here and elsewhere.
“This isn’t one of those situations. Our civilian police are managing this appropriately and effectively,” he said. “That’s what we’ll fight to protect.”
Weiser said Trump’s comments earlier this week made him sad, because it wasn’t what America needed right now.
“We are in a moment where we are seeing, by and large, peaceful assembly and protesting calling for justice, this is a time for us to come together,” he said. “It’s not a time to escalate the situation by bringing in the military.”