The riots around the country have not only created more divide among America’s citizens, but they have also given military figures a reason to go after the President.
With Trump calling for governors to activate their National Guard units to quell the rioting throughout the country, many prominent military figures past and present are now attacking Trump relentlessly over what they deem to be a call to arms against American citizens.
Unrest from Within
The open dissent started when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper openly told the media that he does not approve of using the military against U.S. citizens.
Esper stated, “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 situations.
“We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
This was followed by a scathing op-ed by Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis.
Mattis wrote, “I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled.
“The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind.
“We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.
“We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
He added, “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.
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.
“This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
Retired Four-Star Marine General John Allen also shredded Trump with an op-ed of his own and blistered Trump over what Democrats are calling a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
As President Trump often does, he immediately struck back.
While he has yet to comment on Esper’s statement, he had no problem going after Mattis.
Trump sent out the following tweets belittling the career of Mattis and bid him good riddance…
…His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom “brought home the bacon”. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
Mattis was a general that was very much beloved by many of his men, so this could create some blowback for Trump among the military.
It generally does not sit well when a man with no military background slams someone as decorated as Mattis, but as we all know, this political climate is far from anything we have ever seen before.
I will be the first person to admit that the last thing I ever want to see is the military walking down our streets and threatening citizens, but many cities passed a point of no return in terms of their own police being able to control the rioting.
This is also something our military members are often uncomfortable doing, but the active members of the military I have spoken with all pretty much have the same message.
They don’t like what they are doing, but they understand their presence is necessary to protect their fellow citizens, local businesses, and personal property of their fellow Americans.
Their hope is that their mere presence will be enough to deter rioters and their hope is the military can be pulled back as soon as possible so our streets do not look like those of countries like communist China.
This “spat” that Trump is now in could really hurt Trump as it is never good to have such high-profile military commanders challenging the commander-in-chief.
Trump’s base will not be shaken, that we know, but he cannot win this election with his base alone.