Who is James Mattis? James Norman Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired U.S. Marine Corps general and former government official who served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Defense from January 2017 to January 2019.
Navy general James Mattis, who resigned as defense secretary in December 2018 in protest at Donald Trump’s policies in Syria, has since remained silent about Trump’s performance as president. But he has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary announcement in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation and accuses him of ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.
“I have watched the events unfolding this week, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are engraved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what the protesters are rightly calling for. This is a healthy and unifying demand – which we should all be able to support. We must not be distracted by a small number of offenders. The demonstrations are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who insist that we respect our values – our values as a people and our values as a nation. He continues: “We must reject and hold accountable those in place who would mock our Constitution.”
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In his indictment, Mattis excores the president for pitting the Americans against them.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my life who doesn’t try to unite the American people – doesn’t even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote. “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 it, building on the forces inherent in our civil society. It will not be easy, as we have shown in recent days, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; past generations who have bled to defend our promise; and our children. “
He then compares the American ethos of unity to Nazi ideology. “The instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the invasion of Normandy reminded the soldiers that “The Nazi slogan to destroy us… was ‘Divide to rule’. Our American response is ‘In the Union, there is strength’. “We must summon this unity to overcome this crisis, confident that we are better than our policy.”
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Mattis’ dissatisfaction with Trump was no secret inside the Pentagon. But after his resignation, he publicly argued – and with much criticism – that it would be inappropriate and counterproductive for a former general and cabinet official to criticize a current president. This, he said, would threaten the apolitical nature of the army. When I interviewed him last year about this, he said: “When you leave an administration for obvious political differences, you have to give the people who are still there as many opportunities as possible to defend the country. They still have a responsibility to protect this great and great experience that is ours. However, he added: “There is a time when I owe my silence. It is not eternal. It’s not going to last forever. “
This period is now finally over. Mattis came to the conclusion last weekend that the American experience is directly threatened by the president’s actions he once served. In his statement, Mattis made it clear that the president’s response to the police murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests sparked the public condemnation.
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“When I joined the army about 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore to support and defend the Constitution. I have never dreamed that soldiers taking the same oath would be condemned under any circumstances to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens – much less to provide a bizarre photo opportunity to the elected commander-in-chief, with military leaders next door. »
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