As Donald Trump’s entire presidency turns ever bolder and more pungent, the far corners of the Washington swamp are declaring their nostrils offended at a dizzying rate.
The latest to voice his opinion on President Trump’s stroll across to St. John’s Episcopal is the highly regarded General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who penned an op-ed that included Nazi references and the suggestion that Trump is a threat to the Constitution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The article comes as Pentagon Chief Mark Esper also rebuked the President Today, stating that he is in opposition to Trump’s plan to use the insurrection act to place US military forces in the streets.