Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis has written a scathing statement regarding how President Donald Trump has been handling the nationwide crisis over George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests. As this situation has escalated over the past week, a number of people have wondered if former administrative officials like Mattis would speak out. Now, it seems he has decided he has something to say.
The Atlantic shared the details of what Mattis wrote and the former secretary of defense did not hold back.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved into 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,” he stated.
Mattis insisted that people needed to resist being distracted by what he said was a small number of lawbreakers. He noted that there were tens of thousands of protesters who were pushing the country to live up to its values.
“We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
Later in his statement, Mattis specifically addressed his thoughts on how Trump has handled the ongoing crisis.
“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,” he exclaimed.
Mattis has spoken out against the president’s decisions before. However, it seems that the current upheaval across the nation has sparked a desire in him to be more forthright than he’s typically been in the past.
The former Trump cabinet member said that he believes the country can unite without the president’s leadership. However, he acknowledged that it will not be easy. Mattis also drew a comparison between the American values of unity against the Nazi ideology of dividing and conquering.
Despite previously signaling that he would speak up against Trump when the time was right, Mattis has been mostly silent since leaving the administration. He explained that he felt he needed to stay silent in part to allow those still in the administration room to work.
Mattis’ comments also referred to Trump’s recent visit to St. John’s as a bizarre photo opportunity and an abuse of executive authority. In addition, he admitted that he never imagined that troops would be ordered to violate the Constitution.
Mattis had some harsh words for current Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other senior officials as well. He admonished the administration for setting up what he deemed a false conflict between civilians and the military, adding that he believes it eroded a trusted bond.
Ultimately, Mattis insisted that the country can get through this time of unrest and be stronger and more united as a result.