Appearing on Fox News, Senator Ted Cruz called for “systematic law enforcement targeting Antifa and other terrorist groups.”
Fox News reports Cruz made the comments reacting to a Wall Street Journal editorial warning President Trump that activating the U.S. military could backfire.
“U.S. soldiers are trained for combat against a foreign enemy, not for riot control against Americans,” the editorial board wrote. “The risk of mistakes would be high, and Mr. Trump would be blamed for any bloodshed from civilian clashes with troops.”
The editorial titled “Don’t Call in the troops” was published on Monday after Trump threatened to deploy the military if states don’t send in the National Guard to violent demonstrations.
Protests were sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck in a viral video. Chauvin has been fired and charged with third-degree murder. Crowds across the nation have seized on the racially charged incident to demand justice, but the protests have devolved into riots in many cities, culminating in days of carnage.
“I think there are a lot of people who are second-guessing the president, second-guessing our leadership,” Cruz said reacting to the Wall Street Journal editorial.
“Now is the time for strong leadership,” he continued. “Rioting should not be tolerated. It cannot be allowed and we need strong leadership from the president, from the attorney general, from governors, from mayors, from police chiefs.”
Cruz pointed out that “every American has a right to speak” and “to peaceably express” their point of view.
“What you don’t have a right to do is engage in violent rioting,” he said. “What you don’t have a right to do is loot. What you don’t have a right to do is to light police cars on fire and attack your fellow citizens and we need law enforcement to be unequivocal that if you do that, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will spend a very long time in jail.”
Cruz added that there must be “systematic law enforcement targeting Antifa and other terrorist groups” who are behind the violence and looting.
He went on to say that the “terrorist assault on our country” and the rioting “needs to end and it needs to end now.”