OPINION: Where are Ky’s congressmen on use of military against citizens?

As the calls for calm and order have risen over the shouts for equality and justice across the nation, the president’s voice has raged. President Trump hasn’t sought peace. Instead, his voice is a bullying taunt against American citizens who are rightfully exercising their First Amendment rights.

Earlier this week, the president had peaceful civilians gassed and has threatened to use the military against fellow countrymen under the 1807 Insurrection Act, a law passed 31 years after our country’s freedom from the despotic and unjust dictates of King George III of England.

People from across the world, across the country and across the political spectrum have called for Congress to check the president’s threat. Those calls mostly have been ignored.

The Kentucky Gazette posed this question to all eight members of Kentucky’s federal delegation:

“Roll Call is reporting that President Trump is considering invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act, an action that would allow using military force against civilians.

“Does [your member] support the president’s invocation of this act, thereby allowing military force? Has he conveyed his opinions to the White House? Has [your member] talked with the president at all about de-escalating the protests?”

In some cases, The Kentucky Gazette requested clarity in the lawmakers’ responses. Some of those requests for clarity were ignored; two responses were revised. For members who didn’t respond, we sent a minimum of two emails and left two voicemail messages through the week.

Here are the responses provided from the lawmakers’ press offices via email:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville

“In these challenging times, the president and the American people are very well-served by the expert advice and principled leadership of people like Secretary Esper and Attorney General Barr. I appreciate their dedicated work at this difficult time for our nation and their steadfast commitment to their constitutional duties to preserve peace and order, uphold liberty, and protect the American people so they can freely exercise their rights. I am glad President Trump has assembled such an impressive team that is working hard for all Americans.”

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green

“Sen. Paul does not support invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act,” said Kelsey Cooper, Paul’s communications director.

U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville

Rep. Comer’s office did not respond.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green

“I, like so many Americans, am deeply saddened by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. It is extremely difficult to watch what happened to George Floyd. It’s also hard to imagine why people would devastate local communities through rioting and looting. All Americans need to feel confident in our criminal justice system, and sadly many do not – and we need to fix that. But while I fully support the right to protest, we cannot fix our system through violence. After everything our nation has gone through in the last few months, we must come together to address these challenges as one. I’m encouraged by the many Kentuckians and Americans who have already pitched in to help clean up after the riots, and I am hopeful that through this spirit of community, we can heal our nation.”

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville

“The president just declared war on millions of Americans and the First Amendment. He is the greatest threat to the American way of life in our history.”

   Rep. Yarmuth tweeted this statement as well.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Garrison

Rep. Massie’s office did not respond.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset

“Peaceful protests across the country have stirred a new sense of hope for justice and equality. Despite families of victims calling for peaceful resolve and justice to honor their loved ones, anarchists have highjacked many of those powerful demonstrations by vandalizing and burglarizing businesses, churches, and national landmarks. This is not a lawless country and if our states need assistance protecting citizens during mass unrest, they can and should request help from the federal government. No one wants to see the military roaming our streets any more than they want to see violent riots and bloodshed of innocent people. I have long believed that the safety and security of the American people is one of the government’s chief responsibilities. We must ensure freedom of speech is protected while also promoting the peaceful assembly of those marching for lasting, meaningful change.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

Rep. Barr’s office did not respond.

Laura Cullen Glasscock, editor and publisher

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