Ex-top general rebukes Trump’s troops threat

(141031) — WASHINGTON D.C., Oct. 31, 2014 (Xinhua) — US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey hold a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Oct. 30, 2014. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

Washington, June 5 (IANS) Gen Martin Dempsey, a former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, has denounced President Donald Trump’s threat to use troops to suppress the ongoing nationwide protests against the death of African-American George Floyd.

On Thursday, Dempsey, who served as the country’s most senior military officer under former President Barack Obama from 2011-15, the told National Public Radio that Trump’s remarks were “very troubling” and “dangerous”, reports the BBC.

“The idea that the president would take charge of the situation using the military was troubling to me,” Gen Dempsey said in the rare public remarks.

“The idea that the military would be called in to dominate and to suppress what, for the most part, were peaceful protests – admittedly, where some had opportunistically turned them violent – and that the military would somehow come in and calm that situation was very dangerous to me,” he added.

Dempsey’s remarks came a day after former Marine Gen Jim Mattis, Trump’s former defence secretary, denounced the President, saying he “tries to divide” the American people, instead of uniting.

“Donald Trump is the first President in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis, who resigned as the Pentagon chief in December 2018 in protest against Trump’s Syria policy, said on Wednesday in an article carried by the Atlantic magazine.

Meanwhile, incumbent Defence Secretary Mark Esper has also openly opposed Trump’s suggestion to use the military to quell the disturbances.

Esper said on Wednesday that the nation was not in a situation that would legally allow Trump to call out the troops for domestic operations.

The three statement came after Trump on Monday threatened to send in active-duty military forces to quell the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial discrimination that have spread to over 300 US cities and towns following the killing of Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, by white police officers.

Also on Thursday, a moderate Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski broke ranks to say she was unsure if she would support Trump’s bid for re-election.

Shortly afterwards Trump tweeted that he would campaign to throw the Alaska senator out of office when she is up for re-election in 2022.

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