Defense chief breaks with Trump on response to protests

Clay Curtis
June 4, 2020

It came as Americans gathered to protest police brutality against black Americans following the killing of Floyd, who was handcuffed and on the ground pleading for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck for several minutes. "Given the dynamics, I wanted to lead by crafting my own statement for the department first", he said, referring to a memo that he sent to USA troops on Tuesday night.

"I got a report back that they were asked by law enforcement to look at a National Guard checkpoint to see if there were protesters around", Esper said. He declared, "We are not in one of those situations now". Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), have encouraged Trump to dispatch the military under the Insurrection Act of 1807. But there is reported to be mounting unease about senior officers about the politicisation of the armed forces, and concern over Esper's own actions. Trump had been furious about images juxtaposing fires set in the park outside the executive mansion with a darkened White House in the background, according to current and former campaign and administration officials. "Trump hates being boxed in".

Attorney General Bill Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley were each spotted in the capital on Monday evening despite ongoing demonstrations and a 7pm curfew imposed in the city.

On Tuesday, James N. Miller, who formerly served as under secretary of defense for policy, resigned his seat on a Pentagon board with extraordinary letter to Esper.

Esper said he was not aware of the measures that had been taken to drive protesters out.

Before and while the president was making the announcement, police forces clashed with peaceful protesters within earshot of the White House with flash-bang devices and tear gas, clearing the way for Mr. Esper said that National Guard members did not do this. "Of course, the president drags a large press pool along with him". "What I was not aware of was exactly where we were going when we arrived at the church and what the plans were once we got there".

The same day, Trump's Defense secretary, Mark Esper, stressed the importance of taking steps to "dominate the battle space", in apparent reference to American soil. "We need to know whether he intends to uphold his oath".

Floyd Family Lawyer: Police Officer's Charges Likely to Be Upgraded
Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter several days after Mr Floyd's death. Floyd's family, on Wednesday, visited a makeshift shrine at the Minneapolis street corner where he died.

Speaking on Wednesday he said battlespace was "part of our military lexicon".

"It's what we routinely use to describe a bounded area of operations".

While Esper said the military had "more often than not" been a leader on diversity, military leaders remain predominantly white and male and recent studies have indicated the problems that people of color and women face in advancing to the highest ranks.

"In retrospect, I would use different wording so as not to distract from the more important matters at hand or allow some to suggest that we are militarizing the issue", he said.

Esper, at Trump's encouragement, had already authorized the movement of about 1,300 active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation's capital, but they have not entered the city - and defense officials said some of the troops were beginning to return to their home bases Wednesday.

"I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops", Mike Mullen, Dempsey's predecessor as the top Pentagon commander, wrote in the Atlantic on Tuesday.

Wow. Gen. Milley, @thejointstaff, actually walked with the president on his photo op stunt this afternoon after lawful protestors and journalists were tear gassed out of his way.

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