President Donald Trump takes his responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad seriously — and he’s just made that abundantly clear.
The president quietly deployed troops to West Africa over the weekend as American citizens and U.S. diplomatic facilities have come under threat amid unrest in the nearby Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Election fraud and unrest in Congo
Trump dispatched about 80 U.S. military personnel to the West African nation of Gabon to be staged near the neighboring nation of the Congo to rapidly respond to potentially violent protests there, according to the New York Post.
The Post noted that the Democratic Republic of Congo just held elections on Dec. 30 that were marred by allegations of widespread fraud and rumors of an uprising by the people if the election appeared to be tainted and unfair.
A final count of the votes is expected to be released to the public on Sunday, and it is presumed by some that the long-serving President Joseph Kabila and his governing party could be ousted from power, a development that could spark turmoil and violence.
American citizens at risk
In a letter to the speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate to inform them of his decision, Trump declared: “United States Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Libreville, Gabon, to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“This deployment of approximately 80 personnel is in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the December 30, 2018, elections there. The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft,” the president continued.
“Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Republic of the Congo, if necessary for these purposes. These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed,” Trump added.
A fully informed Congress
Trump said in his letter that this “action was taken consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”
He concluded that the letter served as his effort to “keep the Congress fully informed” of his actions in keeping with the War Powers Resolution, and noted that he would appreciate the support of Congress regarding these actions.
President Trump has no desire to get the U.S. military involved in disputes around the globe, but he won’t hesitate to protect and defend Americans overseas if their lives and safety are threatened.
The deteriorating situation in the Congo has placed some American citizens and assets at risk, and Trump has taken necessary action via the military to mitigate that risk. Good on him.