FORT DRUM — The Fort Drum soldiers who were deployed to the Washington, D.C., area to quell unrest from demonstrations are returning home.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper ordered the members of the 91st Military Police Battalion to return to Fort Drum, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Friday.
They were put on standby for possible assignment to help quell disturbances in the nation’s capital over the killing of George Floyd.
On Thursday, CNN reported that about 700 of the 1,600 active duty troops who were brought to the Washington area were returning to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
The redeployment orders came after several days of peaceful protests and no arrests.
Earlier this week, Secretary Esper broke with President Donald J. Trump, saying he opposed using the Insurrection Act of 1807 to send troops to quell violence that erupted following the death of the 46-year-old black man at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last week.
At first, he ordered the troops back home, but then the president intervened and kept the soldiers in the nation’s capital.
But then President Trump reportedly reversed the defense secretary’s decision to redeploy the soldiers and they remained on standby.
President Trump has been criticized for threatening to militarize the response to the unrest over the death of the father of two.
Mr. Trump said the governors needed to “dominate” the protesters.