Democrats have reacted with fury and incredulity to reports that the army issued troops with bayonets during protests in Washington, D.C. The weapons were never used.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, confirmed that bayonets were issued during recent protests in the nation’s capital. Democratic lawmakers were quick to react.
General Milley sent a letter on the matter to Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi. They responded in their letter, while Lieu also took to Twitter.
The two Democrats compared arming troops with bayonets to the notorious Kent State shootings in 1970. The National Guard killed four protesting students.
It is insane to issue bayonets to soldiers for crowd control. Are they supposed to stab protestors? Americans are not the enemy. @CongressmanRaja & I are demanding @DeptofDefense & @thejointstaff to commit to never do this again in the future. https://t.co/PVF95hbrsC
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 2, 2020
“The escalation and violence leading up to and following those killings included those same troops meeting peaceful demonstrators with bayonets,” they wrote.
“We recognize the necessity of the Joint Force preserving flexibility to respond to varying circumstances, but it is difficult for us to imagine a circumstance which could necessitate or justify the deployment of bayonets against American civilians,” they said.
“While we are grateful for General Milley’s responses to our questions concerning the arming of troops with bayonets for potential deployment against protesters, we were disappointed he was not willing to commit to banning the practice,” Lieu and Krishnamoorthi told the AP.
“It is insane to issue bayonets to soldiers for crowd control,” Lieu tweeted.
“Are they supposed to stab protestors? Americans are not the enemy.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media