Former Defense Secretary Mattis Breaks Silence On Trump: “The First President In My Lifetime Who Does Not Try To Unite The American People”

He's not messing around.

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Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis tore into Donald Trump as “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people” in a sharp rebuke of his former boss amid the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd by police officers. “Breaks silence” are interesting words to use in this headline since Mattis said nothing while he was in Trump’s orbit, but we’ll take what we can get at this point. Our country is in disarray, after all, and Trump is making matters worse by sowing division.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis said, according to The Atlantic. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try,” he continued. Instead, he tries to divide us.”


“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort,” he said. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

And then he went there.

“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.” he said.

Mattis isn’t into witnessing US citizens getting tear-gassed and flash-banged so the president can have a photo-op.

“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. 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—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

Then, he criticized Mark Esper.

“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’ At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society,” he said. “It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.”

Well, it’s about time Mattis said something. Better late than never. We’ll take it. God knows our country needs all the help it can get with Trump at the helm — or in his bunker.

Featured image via U.S. Secretary of Defense/Flickr, under Creative Commons license 2.0

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