House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the decree by President Donald Trump to institute martial law in the United States “to protect Americans from foreign and domestic enemies” is an unfortunate necessity given the state of the world, but he took issue with the “hasty and sloppy” execution of the law.
“Should the Administration have put out guidance earlier to minimize confusion? Yes, I think it should have,” Ryan said. “The order was clearly drafted in haste—I get that, given the threats we face from people who want to harm American liberty and freedom—but the people on the ground who must carry out the order should have been given detailed instructions. The result was the confusion and unnecessary mistakes we saw that characterized the rollout.”
A good example, Ryan said, is an incident outside of Kennedy International Airport yesterday that was widely reported until the news media was banned. A young man, later identified at DeQuon Jackson, resisted when officers tried to detain him and then was roughly handled before taken to a temporary detention center.
“With detailed guidance officers could have handled the situation quickly by shooting or tasing him rather than causing a disturbance that dragged out for 15 minutes.”
Jackson, who reportedly worked at the airport as a janitor and was trying to get to work, argued before the scuffle that he shouldn’t be detained, because he had been going to the airport every weekday for a decade. But officers said he posed a threat under a provision in the decree that says, in part, “anyone arousing concern as a threat to American liberty and freedom must be removed from the premises.” Officials said they weren’t sure if “removed from the premises” meant shooting him or taking him to a detention center. “Careful planning would have prevented this kind of misunderstanding,” Ryan said.
The Speaker also complained that his role, as leader of House Republicans, must be made clearer under the decree. “There needs to be more on what the Speaker’s role is, otherwise where are the checks and balances? So, that’s why I’m saying more thinking needs to be done on this decree and it would have been good had leaders in Congress been part of it’s drafting. Martial law isn’t something you do every day. It needs to be done in an orderly way.”
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