The piece mixed opinions from retired military leaders and currently serving military leaders, and conflated retired military officers’ criticism of Trump with current military leaders’ statements of support for fighting racism.
For example, it cited “senior military officers” “turning against him,” but first cited Mullen, who is retired and no longer serving:
Senior military officers are turning against him as well. So far, this is a tentative, uncoordinated tilt–officers are trained, from the time they’re cadets, to stay out of politics and to obey lawful orders from civilian authority–but there is growing concern about Trump’s use of the military for his own partisan purposes and, with it, a growing recognition of the need to speak out.
The first public outburst came on Tuesday, from retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who wrote in the Atlantic, “I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.
The criticism of Trump comes after he gave a strongly worded speech on Monday where he warned he would use active-duty forces to restore order where mass rioting and violence was taking place.
Trump then walked across the street from the White House to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was defaced and burned by rioters. Before that walk, police had forcefully cleared the path of protesters.
Earlier in the day, Trump had also urged state governors to use the National Guard to get control of their cities, which had faced days of violent riots, looting — and in some cases, murder of police officers and other protesters.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged them to “dominate the battlespace,” but has walked back his comments, saying he would choose different words next time.
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