US retired military leaders publicly denounce President Trump
Scores of retired military officers have denounced president Trump.
The officers also accused Trump of threatening to use the U.S. Armed Forces to undermine the rights of Americans protesting George Floyd killing and police brutality.
The condemnation signed by 89 former defense officials came in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Friday June 5, and in a letter signed by 55 retired military leaders supporting Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate.
Mix of Republicans and Democrats, including former defense secretaries Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ash Carter and William Cohen; former national intelligence director James Clapper; former CIA director Michael Hayden; and former Navy secretaries Sean O’Keefe, Ray Mabus and Richard Danzig, signed the Washington Post op-ed.
The op-ed came following the use of tear gas and flash bangs by law enforcement officers on peaceful protesters near White House shortly before Trump posed with a Bible in front of a damaged church in the area.
Trump also issued a threat to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 as he said that federal troop would be deployed to quell the protests.
The president was accused in the op-ed for betraying the oath of his office by “threatening to order members of the U.S. military to violate the rights of their fellow Americans.”
The defense leaders therefore warned the president against threatening the constitutional rights of fellow Americans and asked him to not send the forces to the cities as he has planned to.
While condemning Mr. Trump’s response to protesters and his plan to quell protests across the US, in the letter released by the Biden campaign, leaders like retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, an Air Force chief of staff in the 1990s acknowledge the anger of black Americans and as a result asked Trump to put an end to his divisive rhetoric.
They warned him against plan to deploy military forces on peaceful protesters which they said would imply “tarnishing the military.”
Similarly, in the Biden letter signed by the military leaders, the leaders expressed concern for the protesters and said that they are encouraged by the protesters and local leaders who have listened to and acknowledge the right of the protesters.
“Those of us who have served believe the greatness of our military and the greatness of our nation depends upon the calls for change in the streets today,” wrote the military leaders.
Separately, James Mattis, a retired Marine general and former defense secretary to President Trump, and John Allen, a retired four-star general in the Marine Corps have similarly denounced President Trump’s response to protests across the US.
Condemning Trump’s response Allen said that dispersing protesters on Monday near the White House “May well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.”