Loud criticism from within: Ex-generals and high-ranking Republicans: The open revolt against Donald Trump
The criticism of Donald Trump is getting louder. Senior generals and close confidants have publicly turned away from the US president. Former Republican Party greats like Colin Powell or ex-President George W. Bush are now following suit – and side with Trump’s democratic rival Joe Biden.
For days, US President Donald Trump called for a crackdown on the nationwide protests. In his speech in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday a week ago, Trump threatened to use the military against the “acts of domestic terror”. Since then there has been criticism for the President. And it also comes from within our own ranks.
At the weekend, several formerly high-ranking Republicans joined the horror of Trump’s handling of the protests after the violent death of George Floyd. Above all, Colin Powell.
“Trump has moved away from the constitution”
After retiring from 2001 to 2005, the former four-star general was the US Secretary of State in President George W. Bush’s first term. “We have a constitution and we follow this constitution. And the president has moved away from it, ”Powell said on Sunday’s CNN talk show“ State Often The Union ”. He was also proud of the number of generals who had recently positioned themselves against Trump’s statements.
At the same time, Powell described Trump as “dangerous for our democracy, dangerous for our country”. Trump “lies about things and he gets away with it because people don’t hold him accountable.”
- You can read all the news and information about the protests in the News ticker
Powell stated that in the 2016 election he had voted not for Trump but for his competitor Hillary Clinton – and that he wanted to side with the Democrats again in the upcoming election. The 83-year-old revealed on Sunday (local time) that he was a challenger to Joe Biden, both on a social and political level, and confirmed: “I will vote for him.”
Trump reacted furiously via Twitter to Powell’s statements and called the broadcasting station of the interview “Fake News CNN”. In addition, Powell was “weak” in his political time and “gave everyone every kind of concession.”
George W. Bush also turns away
Powells is by no means the only one of once high-ranking Republicans whom Trump now seems to have lost. According to a report in the “New York Times”, ex-president George W. Bush should not support Trump’s re-election.
In addition to Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the other three alive former presidents – all Democrats – also spoke. All four criticized the continuing inequality and disadvantage of black people in the United States. All of them have criticism of the Trump administration.
The example of Bush and Powell is said to be followed by Cindy McCain, widow of Republican Senator John McCain, who died in 2018, according to the New York Times report. She was therefore almost certain to vote for Biden in the upcoming election. Republican Senator Mitt Romney, himself a former candidate for president, has turned his back on Trump. Instead, he contemplates simply writing his wife’s name on the slip of paper when choosing.
Romney drew attention to himself earlier this year with his stance against Trump when he was the first senator in US history to vote against an president of his own party in an impeachment process. Now he expressed his solidarity with the protesters in the current debate at the weekend and posted pictures on Twitter that showed him at a “Black Lives Matter” demo in Washington D.C. demonstrate.
Ex-Foreign Minister Rice calls for “language of unity”
On Sunday (local time) Condoleezza Rice, who succeeded Colin Powell as US Secretary of State under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, also spoke on the ongoing debate. Rice, who was the first African-American woman to serve as Secretary of State, urged Trump on the CBS news program “Face the Nation” to speak to the population “in a language of unity and empathy”.
Trump must start speaking as president to every American, not just those who agree with him, Rice said. At the same time, the 65-year-old recommended that the President stop tweeting and “talk to all of us, have a conversation with us.”
Defense Minister Mattis: “Angry and horrified”
Ex-Minister James Mattis broke his silence last week on Wednesday (local time). Mattis headed the Department of Defense under Donald Trump for two years, working closely with the President. However, he resigned from his post in 2019 due to disagreements with Trump.
At first, the 69-year-old kept a low profile regarding the protests. On Wednesday, however, he referred to Trump in a contribution for the US magazine “The Atlantic” as “splitter”. The events of the past week would have left him “angry and horrified”.
Trump was the first president he saw who wasn’t trying to unite the country, but had been trying to divide the country for three years, Mattis continued. He described Trump’s use of the military against the country’s protests as an unnecessary mistake. “At home, we should very rarely use our military when requested by state governors,” Mattis wrote in a statement. A deployment of the armed forces against civilian protests threatens to provoke a conflict between the population and the military, he warned.
“Have to take a closer look at who we choose”
The ongoing protests across the country had brought tens of thousands of citizens to the streets peacefully and should not be overshadowed by violent riots by some lawbreakers, Mattis said in the letter. “We have to gather behind a common goal. And that starts with the guarantee that we’re all equal before the law, ”explains Mattis.
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Another ex-companion of Trump jumps to his side with John Kelly. Kelly worked with the U.S. President from July 2017 to January 2019 as the White House chief of staff.
“I agree with him,” said Kelly in a livestream interview with Anthony Scaramucci, addressed to Mattis’ statements and added: “I think we need to take a closer look at who we choose.”
Generals go on the barricades
Former Chief of Staff Mike Mullen had been horrified last week and sharply criticized Trump’s government. He sees the fundamental American values threatened. He has been reluctant to comment on leadership issues of President Trump. But the United States is at a turning point. The events of the past few weeks made it impossible to remain silent.
Four-star General John Allen, United States Special Representative for the Anti-IS Alliance between September 2014 and October 2015, wrote in Foreign Policy magazine: The President had failed to show sympathy, empathy, compassion, or understanding – things that the nation so desperately needs from the person in the highest office.
US soldiers inspire demonstrators by dancing “Macarena” with them
The reactions also followed Trump’s announcement that 1,600 soldiers in Washington D.C. to station to keep the protests under control. Dozens of former US defense politicians also opposed this plan. In a guest post in the Washington Post, they described the measure not only as unnecessary, but also as absolutely unwise.
“The members of our military are always ready to serve the security of our country. But they must never be used to protect the rights of those who have sworn to protect them, ”concludes the post, which of a total of 89 former defense politicians and officers – including Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel and Ashton Carter, three ex-Defense Ministers – was signed.
Defense Secretary Esper stands up to Trump
This demand is supported by one of Trump’s closest employees – Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Esper directly rejects the use of the military against demonstrators and is thus against its president. Such a procedure should only be the “last resort” in a “most urgent and extreme situation” – and one would not currently be in the United States, said Esper.
Trump responded on Sunday, pulling the National Guard out of Washington D.C. off again. At the same time, however, he threatens that the troops could be reactivated quickly. He is unlikely to have drawn critics from his own ranks to his side.
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