former defense secretary James Mattis attacks Donald Trump

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis and President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington in October 2017.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis and US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington in October 2017. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Donald Trump had wished to appear in “President of law and order” by suggesting the use of the military in the face of protests against the police violence triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

This calculation showed its limits, Wednesday June 3. His former defense secretary, James Mattis, has attacked his practice of power with unprecedented virulence. On the same day, the current incumbent, Mark Esper, dramatically distanced himself from the threat threatened by the President of the United States of resorting to soldiers to bring calm to the American streets after the disturbances on the fringes of processions .

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Death of George Floyd: Donald Trump claims to be “president of law and order”

While Donald Trump relied on an anti-insurgency law of 1807, Mark Esper said in a statement read to the Pentagon that such a provision should be invoked in the United States “Only in the most urgent and disastrous situations”. “We are not in one of these situations now”, he added.

The secretary of defense did not stop at this gesture of mistrust. he added that he had not been informed that he was going to participate in a photo session in front of a church targeted the previous night by minor damage, Monday 1er June. The justice department had then bluntly evacuated demonstrators gathered peacefully in front of the White House. This intervention allowed Donald Trump to cross the square and the street that separated him from Saint John Church, to pose for the cameras, brandishing a Bible with members of his cabinet, including Mark Esper.

Resort to the army

Presidential spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany defended this increasingly controversial scene. She drew a parallel with “Presidents and leaders from around the world who have had moments of leadership and very powerful symbols to show a message of resilience and determination “ facing the ordeals, before citing the example of the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, inspecting the damage of the German bombings during the second world war.

Asked about the state of relations between the president and the Pentagon boss, Kayleigh McEnany was evasive. “Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper at the moment, and if the President no longer trusts him, we will all learn in the future She replied. Donald Trump never made a secret of the fact that he expected his subordinates to have unfailing loyalty. Mark Esper has also suffered a snub by being forced, after a meeting at the White House, to reverse its initial decision, announced earlier today, to return to their base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, two hundred men of the 82e airborne division called in to reinforce Washington.

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