Politico.com By Lara Seligman and Daniel Lippman Thurs., June 04/20
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (pic on right) broke his silence on the conduct of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, blasting him and top military leaders and saying he is “angry and appalled” with the events of the past week.
“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,” Mattis said in a statement sent to reporters Wednesday evening.
This marked Mattis’ first public criticism of his former boss since the retired Marine Corps general resigned in late 2018 over Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria.
While he did not cite any other officials by name, Mattis harshly criticized Pentagon leaders, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, for their handling of the military response to race-related protests across the country.
Mattis noted that when he joined the military, he took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution, and “never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens.”
Militarizing the response to civil unrest, as Mattis proclaims “we witnessed in Washington, DC,” sets up a “false conflict” between the military and civilian society, he said.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also attacked Mattis on Twitter by calling his statement “little more than a self-promotional stunt to appease the DC elite. President @realDonaldTrump is the law and order President that has restored peace to our nation‘s streets. Mattis‘ small words pale in comparison to @POTUS’ strong action.”
Multiple Pentagon spokespeople didn’t respond to requests for comment on Mattis’ statement.
Full article here: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/03/mattis-trump-letter-protest-299562