Former Chiefs of Staff Dempsay: Fellow Citizens are not the Enemy

US President Donald Trump’s defense secretary, James Mattis, has attacked his practice of power with unprecedented virulence. On the same day, the current incumbent, Mark Esper, dramatically distanced himself from the United States President’s threat  to use soldiers to bring calm to the American streets after the disturbances on the fringes of the processions .

While the American president wants to resort to the army in the face of demonstrations against police violence, several military figures attack with unprecedented virulence his practice of power.


Mattis called Monday’s actions “an abuse of executive authority.”

While Donald Trump relied on an anti-insurgency law of 1807, Mark Esper said in a statement read to the Pentagon that such a provision should be invoked in the United States “only in the most urgent situations and the most disastrous. ” “We are not in one of these situations at the moment,” he added.

The secretary of defense did not stop at this gesture of mistrust. He added that he had not been informed that he was going to participate on Monday, June 1, in a photo op in front of a church targeted the previous night with minor damage. The justice department had then bluntly evacuated demonstrators gathered peacefully in front of the White House. This intervention allowed Donald Trump to cross the square and the street that separated him from Saint John Church, to pose for the cameras brandishing a Bible, accompanied by members of his cabinet, including Mark Esper.

Presidential spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany defended this increasingly controversial scene. She drew a parallel with “presidents and leaders from around the world who had moments of leadership and very powerful symbols to show a message of resilience and determination” in the face of trials, before quoting the example of the Prime Minister British, Winston Churchill, inspecting the damage of the German bombardments during the second world war.

Asked about the state of relations between the president and the Pentagon boss, Kayleigh McEnany was evasive. “Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper at the moment, and if the President no longer trusts him, we will all learn about it in the future,” she replied. Donald Trump has never hidden the fact that he expects his  loyalty from his subordinates. Mark Esper has also suffered a snub by being forced, after a meeting at the White House, to reverse his initial decision, announced earlier today, to return to their base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, two hundred men of the 82nd Airborne Division called in for reinforcement in Washington.