Former Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff On Trump’s Leadership: It’s “Impossible To Stay Silent”

The big brass are starting to speak out against Trump.


598
598 points

Donald Trump’s use of military force against American citizens to stage a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church has backfired so bad that even retired military bigwigs who normally don’t speak out are doing so, including the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen.

Admiral Mullen took aim at Trump in an op-ed for The Atlantic shortly after the stunt, which involved tear-gassing protesters, hitting them with flash-bangs, and shooting them with rubber bullets.

“It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church,” Mullen wrote. “I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.”

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“Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces,” he continued. “There was little good in the stunt.”

Indeed, China recently mocked Trump for hiding in a bunker at the White House and nailed him for hypocritically criticizing their human rights record when his own record is terrible.

Clearly, America’s foreign policy position is now worthless due to Trump’s actions.

But Mullen was not done.

“While no one should ever condone the violence, vandalism, and looting that has exploded across our city streets, neither should anyone lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns about institutional racism that have ignited this rage,” Mullen wrote. “As a white man, I cannot claim perfect understanding of the fear and anger that African Americans feel today. But as someone who has been around for a while, I know enough — and I’ve seen enough — to understand that those feelings are real and that they are all too painfully founded.”

Mullen concluded by calling for racial justice, warned against excess militarization, and slammed Trump’s lack of leadership.

“We must ensure that African Americans—indeed, all Americans—are given the same rights under the Constitution, the same justice under the law, and the same consideration we give to members of our own family,” he said. “Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so. Too many foreign and domestic policy choices have become militarized; too many military missions have become politicized. This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.”

Of course, Trump will dismiss Mullen because he served during the Obama administration. That, however, would be a mistake because Mullen is a beloved former commander of many members of our armed forces. Several other retired military leaders have also come out against Trump. It would not take much for active-duty troops to lay down their arms and refuse to obey Trump’s orders. And given what they are being asked to do, they should.

Featured image via screen capture/Wikimedia Commons

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