"The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act," he said during a briefing at the Pentagon.
Esper also attempted to explain his use of the word "battlespace" when discussing quelling violence on the streets amid civil unrest.
"It's something we use day in and day out ... it's part of our military lexicon that I grew up with...it's not a phrase focused on people," he said. "In retrospect I would have used different wording."
This story is breaking and will be updated.