Senate candidates take contrasting stands on use of military to put down protests

In one of the starkest contrasts of the U.S. Senate race so far, Manny Sethi disagreed with rival Republican Bill Hagerty about whether the active-duty military should have a role in responding to civil unrest around the country.

Hagerty early last week called on President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to crack down on violence and “domestic terrorism.” The Sethi campaign, however, told The Tennessee Journal, that the National Guard was better suited for the role.

Here’s the statement from Sethi campaign manager Chris Devaney:

Manny appreciates President Trump’s leadership, which is why he doesn’t think we need the 101st Airborne in this. Our U.S. military exists to kill bad guys, not to do police work. Our National Guard is more than capable of dealing with these rioters and looters, upholding the rule of law, and busting some heads if need be, to protect our country.

Trump last week week criticized governors for being “weak” and failing to “dominate the streets.” He floated the idea of using the Insurrection Act to send the military into states where governors hadn’t called in the National Guard, but ultimately didn’t take that step.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee authorized the Guard to intervene when Nashville protesters clashed with police and set fire to the Metro Courthouse. The Guard was also called in to augment security at the state Capitol, though the governor heaped praise on soldiers for laying down their shields during a peaceful protest.

The president over the weekend ordered Guard units to start returning to their home states “now that everything is under perfect control.”

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