Breaking his silence in terms of criticizing his former boss, General James Mattis released a statement on Thursday blasting President Donald Trump for his reaction to the wave of unrest and violence that has followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mattis, who resigned from the administration when he disagreed with Trump’s decision to pull our troops out of Syria, has long held his tongue when it comes to criticizing the commander-in-chief. However, he was apparently moved to end that period of silence when Trump threatened to mobilize the military against the violent protesters.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” Mattis wrote. “Instead he tries to divide us.
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort,” he continued. “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.”
As you might expect, President Trump didn’t hesitate to fire back at his former Defense Secretary, proclaiming him “the world’s most overrated general.”
“The only thing Barack Obama and I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis,” he tweeted. “Glad he is gone!”
Mattis said a great many tiresome, questionable things in the statement, but the most head-scratching part was this: “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.”
First of all, if we shouldn’t be “distracted by a small number of lawbreakers,” then why should the whole world come to a screeching halt due to the actions of one Minneapolis cop?
Second, is Mattis watching the same scenes we’re watching, because we wouldn’t describe this as a “small number” of people rioting and looting and setting fires and throwing objects at police. Perhaps “small” compared to the entire population of the United States, but that’s hardly the measuring stick.
We don’t relish the idea of turning the U.S. military loose on our American streets anymore than the next person. But at a certain point, if Democratic leaders are going to leash their police and stand down as their cities burn, we don’t have any other option. And, unless something drastic happens soon, that certain point has come.