Elizabeth Warren Says Trump's Threats to Use Military Against Protesters Places 'Our Democracy in Danger'

Massachusetts Senator and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren criticized President Donald Trump's statements that the military could be called in against demonstrators on Monday.

Demonstrations have broken out across the U.S. since the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died while being detained by a white police officer. Trump said during remarks in the Rose Garden on Monday that he was willing to deploy federal troops to cities where rioting had not been brought under control by local authorities. After his speech, Trump walked to St. John's Church where he was photographed holding a bible. Before the photo opportunity, a group of demonstrators was dispersed from the area by tear gas employed by law enforcement authorities.

"The President of the United States tear-gassed peaceful protesters in order to clear the way for a useless photo-op outside the White House—just after vowing to activate the military against our own people," Warren tweeted. "Lives and our democracy are in danger."

The President of the United States tear-gassed peaceful protestors in order to clear the way for a useless photo-op outside the White House—just after vowing to activate the military against our own people.

Lives and our democracy are in danger.

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 2, 2020

Warren was not the only Democrat to decry Trump's actions. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted on Monday, "How low can this president go? President Trump ordered federal authorities to fire tear gas at peaceful protesters so that he could hold a photo op to appear like a tough guy. His words are empty. His actions revealed his true nature."

How low can this president go?

President Trump ordered federal authorities to fire tear gas at peaceful protesters so that he could hold a photo op to appear like a tough guy.

His words are empty. His actions reveal his true nature.

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 2, 2020
elizabeth warren
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized President Donald Trump's plans to mobilize the National Guard against individuals protesting the death of George Floyd on Monday. Amanda Sabga/AFP/Getty

New York Representative Nydia Velazquez referred to Trump's actions on Monday as "the behavior of an autocrat. It constitutes a direct, dire threat to our democracy."

During his Monday remarks, Trump said that he had "strongly recommended" that governors call out the National Guard in order to "dominate the streets" during demonstrations.

"If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents," Trump said, "then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them."

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Sunday that she had asked for assistance from up to 500 D.C. National Guard troops. Newsweek reached out to the D.C. National Guard for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

Curfews have been enacted in at least 40 U.S. cities in an attempt to stop the demonstrations. Mayor Bowser announced a curfew in D.C. from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. which is expected to last Monday and Tuesday.

In a Sunday statement, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the protests had been infiltrated by "groups of outside radicals and agitators" who had committed some of the violence during the protests. Barr said the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces would be used to identify those "criminal organizers."

"Federal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protests and are engaged in violations of federal law," Barr said.