Former US defence secretary James Mattis joined White House protesters in spirit on Wednesday having a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump’s handling from the protests calling him the only real President in the lifetime “who will not try to unite the American people – fails to even pretend to try”.
Mattis is the first former Trump cabinet member into the future out so publicly to criticise the president. Also, he joins an increasing selection of past and present top defence leaders who have either explicitly criticised Trump or distanced themselves from him for utilizing US military personnel against protesters, specially individuals who brutally swept aside demonstrators to create method for the President’s now-infamous photo-op at the church, with a copy in the Bible at hand.
“Donald Trump is definitely the first President within my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – will not even pretend to test. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote within a statement on the Atlantic, a news publication. “We are witnessing the consequences of 3 years of the deliberate effort.”
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” he added. Mattis is a highly regarded marine general who Trump loved talking up before they fell out over difference on Syria in the winter of 2018. He was also one of the more bullish individuals defence secretaries on closer defence ties with India. He took it upon himself to personally pilot an exemption clause for India, though not explicitly, from a US law that sanctions countries for large defence purchases from Russia.
Mattis’ statement came just hours after Mark Esper, his successor in the Pentagon, tried to distance himself from the use of US military personnel against protesters and, specifically, from the usage of force to disperse peaceful demonstrators from Lafayette Square to ensure Trump and his entourage could walk unmolested to a nearby church for the photo-op to counter uncharitable media coverage of your President taking shelter inside the White House underground bunker on the first night of protests.
“The method to use active duty forces in the police force role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and simply in the most dire and urgent of situations,” Esper told reporters. “We are not in one of those situations now.
“I usually do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” he added inside a significant departure through the US President’s open advocacy of the 200-year-old law to force states to enable US military forces.
Former chairman of the US chiefs of staff Mike Mullen wrote the time before in a piece titled “I cannot remain silent”, also in The Atlantic, “I remain confident in the professionalism of our own men and women in uniform. They may serve with skill and with compassion. They are going to obey lawful orders. However I am less confident in the soundness in the orders they are provided by this commander in chief, and so i am not convinced the conditions on our streets, as bad because they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we certainly have not crossed the threshold that could help it become appropriate to invoke the provisions of your Insurrection Act.”
Other past US military leaders have spoken out at the same time recently. But Mattis. Alternatively, someone with matching clout in the military was the voice that was awaited to unlock the frustration said to have been building up in the forces against the flagrant politicisation of one of the most respected of US institutions.
Trump acknowledged the mounting pushback from US military establishment, when he tried to cut down Mattis, belittling him. We both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General,” he wrote in a tweet,. That is “Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common.
“His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. He seldom ‘brought home the bacon’, though i gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many more agree. Glad he is gone! ”
But will Trump turn the tide?
And some more, a new fence outside the White House has kept protesters further away than before. But it really has not deterred them from arriving in larger numbers. They sit around, sing, chant slogans and occasionally fling two-word expletives toward the White House, past the boundary away to matter.
They were entirely peaceful. Largely, and other parts of the country, as were protesters in New York city. Protesters have already been policing themselves. They prevent and try those among them that attempt to get into stores, or violently confront law enforcement officers, and destroying property.