White House to deploy 'additional federal assets' in response to riots across the country

Central command center will include Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and AG Bill Barr

During a White House press briefing Tuesday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said there will be "additional federal assets deployed across the nation" in response to riots that have occurred across the country in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

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"There will be a central command center in conjunction with the state and local governments that will include Gen. [Mark] Milley, Secretary [Mark] Esper, and AG [Bill] Barr but I won't go any further in announcing what actions," McEnany said.

Milley is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Esper is secretary of defense.

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While McEnany acknowledged the first amendment "guarantees the right of the people to peaceably assemble" and that the majority of protests have been peaceful, she condemned the riots and warned that any acts of violence will not be tolerated.

“Violence, looting, anarchy, lawlessness are not to be tolerated. Plain and simple. These criminal acts are not protests, they are not statements, these are crimes that harm innocent American citizens," she said. "It's very important that we have peaceful protesters and support the right of peaceful protesters, but we cannot allow a situation like what happened in Minneapolis to descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos."

She also reiterated the president's call for governors to crack down on violent protests by deploying additional National Guard troops.

“Governors across the country must act, deploy the National Guard as it’s fit and protect American communities," McEnany said.

McEnany said President Trump wants to "dominate the streets with the National Guard" in order to support police officers who have been overwhelmed by violent protests. She added that Gen. Milley noted several studies that show an increased National Guard presence leads to a decrease in civil unrest.

According to the White House, there are 17,000 National Guard troops deployed in 24 states out of the 350,000 troops available and only two states have deployed more than 1,000 troops.

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When asked if the president should address the nation, McEnany said continuous statements from the president are not as effective as action.

“Continual statements as he’s made day and day and day and day again, they don’t stop anarchy," McEnany said. "What stops anarchy is action and that’s what the president is working on right now.”

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