According to multiple reports from unnamed defense department officials, heavily armed US soldiers and military personnel from the 82nd airborne division have been moved from their base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to the outskirts of Washington DC.
This is comes as a result of nationwide civil unrest sparked over the killing of George Floyd, an African American who died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
It was gathered that about 700 members of the 82nd are now in position at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
Joint Base Andrews is where Air Force One takes off when the president goes on trips and is minutes from the White House, just outside the boundary of the capital.
In addition, 1,400 more soldiers are ready to be mobilized within an hour, AP writes, according to two defense department officials, who are not named.
The soldiers are armed and have riot gear, and they also have bayonets, the agency reports.
It is not clear if this is (almost literal) saber-rattling from the president, who has been talking hardline on law and order, displaying hardware in order to intimidate protesters, or if those troops will really be seen on the streets of Washington.
The president has the jurisdiction to send US troops into the federal capital pretty freely, without invoking legislation or seeking permission as would be the case with a state.
It was reported that US army helicopters buzzed the District last night at rooftop level in a deafening, blasting “show of force” that scattered protesters.
This was not long after peaceful protesters were violently swept from outside the White House by police, so that Donald Trump could stage a photo opportunity outside the nearby St John’s “Church of the Presidents”.
An online news platform also reported that: The nation’s capital is the one jurisdiction where the Army can deploy without needing approval from a governor. So President Trump, declaring that “the destruction of peaceful life and the spilling of blood is against humanity and God,” ordered the Army to deploy an active-duty military police battalion for Washington.