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LISTEN: Congressman Adam Smith condemns president's 'dangerous, escalatory' message

House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., speaks as Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, appear before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
Andrew Harnik
/
The Associated Press
House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., speaks as Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, appear before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.

President Donald Trump's threat to deploy the U.S. military to quell unrest here in the United States drew swift reaction and deep concern from local, state and federal leaders.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat who represents Washington's 9th congressional district, is calling for Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to appear before the House Armed Services Committee, which he chairs. Smith talked with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. 

Smith was in Seattle on Monday, for a prayer vigil outside the city's oldest black church. He told KNKX that leaders at First African Methodist Episcopal Church stressed what protesters across the nation have every right to demand from elected leaders: law enforcement reform. Instead, he said, the president effectively "declared war" on peaceful protesters. 

"For the president to basically say, to all the people protesting, 'we will crush you and we will use the military to do it' sends a dangerous, escalatory message," he said. 

Listen to the full conversation above. 

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.