Mattis joins Mullen in speaking out, warning America of what may come next, if Trump isn’t stopped

Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas issued a statement saying that the only response to the “violent anarchists and insurrectionists” protesting in America’s cities was an “overwhelming display of force.” And, today, in the New York Times, he elaborated, saying that the U.S. military needed to be deployed across the United States against those whom he referred to as “nihilist criminals” and “left-wing radicals”. And, of course, Donald Trump retweeted the Senator’s appeal to violence. Thankfully, however, others are beginning to speak out about the growing authoritarianism of the Trump administration. Yesterday it was George W. Bush-appointed former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen warning of our military being “co-opted for political purposes,” and today it was Trump’s own former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who publicly shared his view that Donald Trump is a threat to our Constitution. Here’s his statement.

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. 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.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, 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.

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. 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.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

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.

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. 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.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

And, yes, that was United States Marine Corps four-star general James N. Mattis drawing a comparison between Donald Trump and the Nazis.

One would hope that the Republicans would listen, and start to take meaningful action against Trump soon, before it’s too late.

Earlier today, a Monmouth University poll came out showing that Joe Biden currently holds an 11-point nationwide lead over Donald Trump among registered voters. And that lead isn’t just in blue states. A new Fox News poll is showing Biden well ahead in Arizona. And Quinnipiac is showing Texas neck-and-neck, with Trump just up by one point. Biden, according to the polls, is doing significantly better than either Obama or Clinton at this point in the campaign, and one would think, that has to have Republicans nervous, not just about the results of the 2020 election, but about what Trump may be willing to do in order to stay in power. And I think that’s why people like Mullen and Mattis, who have been quiet all this time, have finally decided to speak up. They can see the writing on the wall. They know who Donald Trump is. They know what he’s capable of. And they know that there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to stay in power, even if it meant shredding the Constitution and doing irreparable harm to our democratic institutions and the very fabric of our civil society. These are smart men, and they know that they can’t be silent any longer. And that should scare the fucking shit out of us.

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9 Comments

  1. iRobert
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    It’s funny how often Trump says he’s going to do something and then discovers it’s not within the powers of the president to do it. And most of the things which are within his power as president to do, he is incapable of doing competently. We are lucky he is so stupid and incompetent. Can you imagine how much damage a person with similar impulses could do if they were actually aware of what powers they had and could competently use them?

  2. CNN's Ryan Struyk
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Suburban women in Wisconsin are going 64% Biden vs. 29% Trump in new Fox News poll out tonight.

  3. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Well I let Mattis do my thinking for me so I guess I’m changin’ muh tune.

  4. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Is he mad Tump wanted out of Afghanistan? Well waah!

  5. Lynne
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    iRobert, the next president should very much work with congress to limit the powers of the president. But even with better limits, it still is a lot of power. We are very lucky that this time we had someone who was incompetent and spent more of his time playing golf and tweeting than doing anything meaningful. Next time we may not be so lucky. Vote well.

  6. Robert Guillaume
    Posted June 5, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Generals can be kind of smart, though, sometimes.
    I think if Ike were alive now, he would warn against the Entertainment-Political complex.
    Think about it. Our population is extremely ignorant these days. We’re like Orson Welles described the Chinese Revolutionaries. We would not even know how to fall over dead if somebody had not done it for us on the screen.
    Then again, maybe Americans have always been dumb. It is just obvious now that we all have cameras and keyboards.

  7. Posted June 7, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Today it was General Colin Powell’s turn.

  8. iRobert
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Trump Derangement Syndrome is spreading quicker than COVID-19.

  9. Posted June 7, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    And Mitt Romney took it up a notch.

One Trackback

  1. […] day by Trump’s own former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis telling the American people that the President of the United States of America is a threat to our Constitution. And, yesterday, former White Chief of Staff John Kelly said not only that he agreed with Mattis, […]

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