Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, expressing his concern regarding the use of military forces in response to peaceful protestors in the District of Columbia.

“I write you today to express my continued, grave concern about the use of military forces in response to peaceful protestors in the District of Columbia, the movement of active duty troops to staging areas around the country’s capital, and plans to deploy active duty troops around the United States should the President invoke the Insurrection Act,” Chairman Smith wrote.

“As you are well aware, the role of the United States military in support of domestic law enforcement is strictly limited by law. It must not be used in violation of those limits. I remain unconvinced that this fundamental premise is fully understood by the Administration in light of the events in Lafayette Square, the movement of active duty troops to staging areas just outside Washington, D.C., and the apparent use of military aviation to disperse protestors on the night of June 1, 2020.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement demanding the Trump Administration provide crucial details about the potential deployments of United States military personnel within the boundaries of the United States:

“At a time when our nation is hurting the President continues to forgo any effort to calm tensions, as we had all hoped he would. Instead he used force to remove peaceful protestors to stage a photo opportunity. Instead of taking a moment of silence in front of the historic St Johns’ Episcopal Church to pray for the lives lost he gathered his cronies to take a picture. Instead of doing the right thing, he once again did the absolute wrong thing.

“I have serious concerns about using military forces to respond to protestors. The role of the U.S. military in domestic U.S. law enforcement is limited by law. It must not be used in violation of those limits and I see little evidence that President Trump understands this fundamental premise.

“I remain gravely concerned about President Trump’s seemingly autocratic rule and how it affects the judgement of our military leadership. I have called for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, to testify before our committee to explain this domestic engagement to the American people. The fate of our democracy depends on how we navigate this time of crisis.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Trump announced his intention to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the armed services across the country in response to protests of George Floyd’s murder.

“As we battle two pandemics at once – the COVID-19 virus, and the scourge of racism – President Trump’s decision to invoke the Insurrection Act, and his inflammatory rhetoric, proves that he cannot lead us through these tumultuous times and unite the country. Instead, he has decided to rely on the use of force to address those who he views as a threat.

“Rather than trying to calm tensions in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Trump has used inflammatory rhetoric, inciting violence against fellow Americans who are protesting. Rather than leading the national conversation about the need to reform our policing practices and address underlying inequalities, Trump has labeled protestors as ‘thugs’ and threatened them, using the language of segregationists.

“The domestic deployment of our armed services is an incredibly serious undertaking that should not be taken lightly. It is un-American to use our service members to ‘dominate’ civilians, as both the President and Secretary of Defense have suggested. We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship.

“I urge President Trump to reverse course and use the full weight of the presidency to calm tensions across the country, not escalate them. It simply doesn’t have to be this way.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today in response to President Trump’s announcement that he is withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization:

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization is short-sighted and dangerous. The United States should continue its role as a leader on the world stage, including within international institutions like the WHO, to advance policies and foster coordination that protects public health at home and abroad.

“This global pandemic is not confined by borders – we must work together since the far-reaching impacts from COVID-19 can be felt across the world. Leaving the WHO will damage our nation's standing as a world leader and put the American people more at risk.

“While I still believe there is room for improvement at the WHO, I strongly oppose withdrawing the United States’ membership and I am committed to protecting our country and strengthening our global leadership during this pandemic.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement today after President Trump signed an executive order targeting legal protections for social media companies:

“This executive order distorts the concept of free speech in a blatant attempt to coerce social media companies into moderating content in a way that benefits the President. This effort flies in the face of the principle of free speech upon which our nation was founded. The First Amendment is not, as the President would like to believe, a tool for the government to use to police speech and suppress opposition. There are many legitimate arguments about how and whether to regulate social media companies and online platforms, but the President cannot simply weaponize executive power because he is displeased by how a social media company responded to him spreading disinformation. This assault on freedom of expression is taken straight from the authoritarian playbook and only further proves this administration’s ceaseless corruption.

“As we mourn the loss of more than 100,000 Americans from COVID-19, this President is more focused on silencing his critics than guiding our country through one of the greatest challenges we have ever faced. Ultimately, this unlawful executive order is yet another attempt to distract the American people from President Trump’s failed leadership.”

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