James Mattis led the U.S. Department of Defense under Donald Trump for two years. Now he rejects Donald Trump with unusually sharp words. He supports the peaceful protests in the country and criticizes the president as a “splitter”.
Trump is the first president he has seen, who has been trying not to unite the country, but has been trying to divide the country for three years, Mattis writes in an article for the US magazine “The Atlantic”. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years without a mature leader,” said the retired general. This week’s events left him “angry and horrified,” the 69-year-old explains in the post.
Mattis describes Trump’s desired militarization of operations against protests across the country following the death of African American George Floyd in a police operation as an unnecessary mistake. “At home, we should use our military very rarely when requested by state governors,” writes Mattis in the statement published on Wednesday (local time). A deployment of the armed forces against civilian protests threatens to provoke a conflict between the population and the military, he warned.
US riots: “A dam is broken”
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. It is up to the local security forces to ensure security and order during the protests, he writes.
The US President has been campaigning for military action to stop rioting on the sidelines of the protests. At Trump’s command, federal soldiers and forces have been transferred to the capital, Washington.
“A dam is broken,” CNN commented on Mattis’ comments on Thursday. Indeed, this is remarkable: Mattis worked closely with Donald Trump for two years. In early 2019, he resigned as its defense minister due to disagreements. But Mattis has not openly criticized the president since then. Even when he published his biography, he was not drawn to reveal his true view of Trump.
The allegation of division does not come from anyone, but from a high-ranking ex-government member who Trump knows very well. Mattis is particularly valued for his military achievements in circles of the US military.
Broad phalanx of high-ranking military critics
The most recent requests to speak show how heated the mood in the country is. Trump now faces a broad phalanx of critics. Former chief of staff, Mike Mullen, was also horrified on Tuesday 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.
And 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 the nation so desperately needs from the person in the highest office.
Defense Minister Esper also positions himself against Trump
Even Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had distanced himself from Trump. The deployment of domestic professional soldiers should only be the “last resort” in the “most pressing and extreme situations,” Esper told Pentagon journalists on Wednesday. “We are currently not in such a situation.”
He therefore does not support recourse to the so-called Insurrection Act, which allows the President to deploy the armed forces domestically, said Esper.
All information on the situation in the United States in the ticker of VIP News.
Ex-Presidents speak up – and there is criticism
Ex-presidents who are still alive are now following suit: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama criticized the continuing inequality and disadvantage of black people in the United States. All of them have criticism of the Trump administration.
Obama, the only black US president to date, described the peaceful protests as an opportunity to make progress in the fight against “institutionalized racism” in the United States. It was impressive and a sign of hope that people of all walks of life and skin tones took part in protests across the country, Obama said on Wednesday (local time). The recent events are an “incredible opportunity” because many people are becoming aware of existing disadvantages for the first time. There is a “change of mindset”, he said.
A strong block is forming against Trump
What will the US president do now? Trump reacted promptly to criticism from his ex-Defense Minister Mattis. On Twitter he accused him of dominating the field of self-expression. He did not appreciate his manager and was glad that he was “gone”, wrote Trump.
It is clear that the president will continue to try to stage himself as commander-in-chief. But it is also obvious that a strong block against Trump is forming with the ex-generals. And since US military personnel have a lot of respect and credibility, these critics could hurt Trump, especially in view of the autumn elections.