Former Defense Sec. Mattis Blasts Trump's Efforts to Divide America & Undermine the Constitution
Using the military to quell civil unrest is an act associated with unpopular third world dictators, and America's presidents have rarely employed the tactic. So, many military leaders are a bit uncomfortable with Donald Trump's threats to use the troops to quash protests leading from the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And former defense secretary, James Mattis, was moved yesterday to pen an article for the Atlantic magazine castigating the President for how he has handled the protests and specifically Trump's use of military personnel to intimidate peaceful demonstrators prior to his infamous photo-op walk to St John’s Episcopal Church.
ABC: "Mattis wrote that never did he dream the oath to preserve the Constitution that he and other service members took would be used " to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens -- much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside."
But, Mattis went even further yesterday and questioned Trump's entire presidency, noting that the President has thrived by dividing the nation along racial lines.
The Atlantic: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.
Mattis, who has been loath to criticize Trump since resigning last year, spoke out yesterday because he understands the real threat that Donald Trump now poses for America and our constitutional order.
Mattis, Atlantic: "We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them."
Many other military leaders agree with Mattis, finding Trump's threats to use military force against protesters repugnant to our national values. The Navy’s top officer, Adm. Michael M. Gilday, told America's sailors yesterday, “I think we need to listen. We have black Americans in our Navy and in our communities that are in deep pain right now. They are hurting.” And retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Bush and Obama, blasted Trump's threats to use the military against demonstrators in a piece he penned for the Atlantic on Tuesday, writing "our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so."
By: Don Lam & Curated Content