These Pentagon officials added that it was the White House, not the Defense Department, that was pushing for active military might in the streets. A senior DOD official said it was the White House that requested military helicopters fly low over protesters in D.C. and that it was part of a broader request from the Trump team that the national guard ramp up its presence in the city. The Associated Press was the first to report about the military flyover being connected to a request from President Trump.
Additionally, the president has pressed aides and Pentagon officials for graphic details on the kind of armored vehicles, military units, aircraft, and even “tanks” that they could potentially send to maintain order in U.S. areas rocked by protests and rioting, according to two people familiar with recent discussions.
One of the sources, a senior administration official, insisted that the president wasn’t ordering tanks to roll down the streets, but was inquiring about “the kind of hardware” that could be used in military shows of force, and at one point Trump threw out the word “tanks.”