Top American general regrets Trump photo op: 'I should not have been there'

06/11/2020

Gen. Mark Milley, the nation's top military officer, expressed his regret on Thursday for walking with President Donald Trump across Lafayette Square for a photo op after authorities forcefully cleared the area of protesters, calling the appearance a "mistake."

"I should not have been there," said Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a video commencement address to National Defense University. "As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it."

The June 1 images of Milley walking the streets of D.C. in his combat uniform prompted outrage from current and retired officials, and many accused Pentagon leaders of allowing the military to be used as a political prop by the Trump administration.

Trump had just announced to reporters that if states do not call up the National Guard to handle civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd, he would deploy active-duty troops to those cities.

After the remarks, U.S. Park Police forcefully removed protesters from Lafayette Square, allowing Trump, Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other top officials to walk across the area to St. John's Episcopal Church, which had been damaged by fire. Trump posed for cameras holding a bible, then Esper joined other officials in a group photo as Milley stood to the side. Esper later told reporters that he didn't know he was heading for a photo op.

Milley acknowledged to the NDU graduates that his presence at the photo op inappropriately politicized the military.

"We who wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation, and we must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic," he said.

Milley also spoke on the murder of George Floyd, saying that he was "outraged" by the "senseless, brutal killing."


"His death amplified the pain, the frustration and the fear that so many of our fellow Americans live with day in and day out," Milley said. "The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to centuries of injustice toward African Americans."

Milley pledged to "take a hard look" at how the military recruits, retains and promotes its members, ensuring that diverse candidates have "equal opportunity" to advance in key career fields.

"We are still struggling in places and we have much work to do. Racism and discrimination, structural preferences, patterns of mistreatment, unspoken and unconscious bias have no place in America and they have no place in our armed forces," Milley said. "We must, we can and we will do better."

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/11/mark-milley-trump-church-walk-313074


Comments

  • First, if the Joint Chief of Staff regrets the show of authority and spine that President Trump exhibited when he walked to that burned church building, then, that is fine. JCS advise the President(s) and in the end, they decide what they think is appropriate balance between the public display of the military might on one hand and the political/administrative might on one side.

    Secondly, I believe that if Trump did not take that bold and controversial walk--from the White House to the partially burned church--that the violent protests near the White House would have been worst than the night before. And the violence that marred the peaceful protests would have exploded throughout the whole US.

    Third, What that "walk" showed is that Trump was determined to protect federal properties as well as private properties. He showed that when the violence came too close to the White House, he needed to act. If not, I think the protestors would have tried to climb the WH fence and try to burn part of the WH. And if successful, it would have embolden the rioters throughout the whole of the US.

    That would have been a terrible display to, not only Americans, but the whole world.

    Fourth, after that walk, most of the protests in the following days and nights became peaceful. There were not many looting that marred the peaceful protests--except in New York.

    By that "walk", it showed the "rioters" who were infiltrating the peaceful marchers, that Trump would not back down.

    Fifth, some have complained about the fence structures that were expanded around the WH and to the Mall where they were prediction a million people to march as organized by the BLM organizers. I think the massive wall that was erected prevented a lot of people from joining the march, knowing that they will be confined to the massive area of the mall but with no access to the WH, the church and other important facilities near the WH.

    Sixth, just look at the example of the protestors who have set up a settlement within Seattle. The police station were boarded and evacuated. The mob has taken over the area; and are now demanding local residence and stores to pay fees to the group. I think it's a good example of lawlessness--if the police are defunded.

    Just my thoughts.
  • Marc, you are a sick puppy. Truly warped. Just my thoughts.
  • SC, so that is your thoughts. Can you explain why all of sudden the violence and riots stopped dramatically in the day and nights that followed that Trump's "walk" which showed his determination to stop such destruction to people's business and lives. Trump did not give a lecture for people to stop. Nobody did. They just stopped except a few places. It was like all of sudden, a rising tide just stopped; and began to recede after that "walk". That's my interpretation and perspective.
  • Hey marc! Here are some of our American heroes serving and protecting the people of Chicago from the rioters and looters. Enjoy!

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/11/us/chicago-officers-in-congressmans-office/index.html

    How much do you figure the fine people of Chicago had to fork over in overtime pay for these heroes, marc?

    Nighttime, and hazardous duty pay to boot!
  • Bunker boy showed what kind of retard he really is. Going to a church to hold up a bible he does not read or understand it’s teachings is not strength, intelligence, bravery or inspirational. It’s ass clown of the highest order. He didn’t speak to the church leaders, didn’t talk to the protesters, didn’t read a verse or showed any understanding of why there is even protests happening.

    It was a complete sham trying to project what or prove what? Pictures with a bible doesn’t mean shit. Open it up and read it or practice it daily. Now that would show truth. Instead we get bullshit con man tactics and you morons eat it up.
  • Sarem Chuuk, don't you see the pattern. You are focusing on the few cities whose local governments were either ineffective or resisted Trump's invitation for them to bring National Guard--not to police but to support the police.

    Additionally, Trump proposed that military people could be brought to help out--if requested. Not armed but provide extra manpower with non-lethal equipment--not to arrest people--that's local police job--but to provide support to the law enforcement. So some of these national police were stationed in DC and other places. But Chicago, New York City, and others chose not to confront the rioters-- but accede to the rioters' demand--for local police to stand down.

    Note that the cities that accepted that support of the national guards saw peaceful protests without the damage of properties by looters and rioters.

    After a day of peaceful protests in DC area--as different from the day before--Trump ordered the national guard and the military people to pull back from the city. Show of force was all that was needed to prevent wide scale destruction as the city and other cities in the US had experienced in the several nights prior.

    As for overtime pay, the law enforcement people know that they will work beyond the 8 hours work cycle; and will be compensated to do the job that they are trained to do. It comes with the territory.

    What is your view of the situation in Seattle as of this morning where a group of people, accused as linked to Antifa, has declared a certain section of the city as under their control--their zone? Do you support them? Just wondering.
  • Marc asks me "Can you explain why all of sudden the violence and riots stopped dramatically in the day and nights that followed...?" The implication being that everybody became peaceful when the president marched to the Church to hold the bible in his hand.

    My answer: No, marc, and neither can you. But I can make observations, based on historical precedent, which may offer a possible explanation. Just like the Watts riots in 1965, and the riots in Chicago during the Democratic convention in 1968, and the Holy Week Uprising riots after the assassination of Dr. King, riots begin, and riots end. President Johnson did not march to a church in Watts and hold up a bible, causing the people to stop rioting. Neither did President Johnson go outside the Convention Center in Chicago and demonstrate his "strength" and bring those riots to an end. And not even Bobby Kennedy's impassioned plea following Dr. King's death bring an end to the Holy Week Uprising. All of these riots began -- and ended -- on their own timetable, and on the timetable of the participants, not the President. Maybe the overwhelming sadness takes over for the overwhelming anger, and the protesters become sated.

    And you should try to remember, marc, even though it is hard once you have drunk the Kool Aid, that only a very few of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of protesters who took to the streets of America and all over the world in rage and anger and sadness following the lynching of George Floyd under the knee of former Officer Chauvin did so to riot and pillage and burn. Almost all of them were exercising their Constitutionally given right to peaceably assemble and petition their government(s) for redress of America's original sin. And that process will continue, God Willing, as we continue on our quest for a more perfect union.

    Regardless of Donald Trump and his bible photo op.
  • Sarem Chuuk, Trump had said all along that he supports peaceful protests against injustices. But he does not support lawless looting, riots, destruction of properties--whether state or private. His position is that if an American is injured or abused or killed, he, as President, should express his concerns. And if actions are not taken to protect the common people, he will take action based on authorities accorded him as President.

    It's nothing to do with Kool-Aid; that's your way of minimizing the value of thinking and agreeing to Trump's actions but forget that I would not hesitate to say it, if I were to disagree with anybody.

    And he expects the local governments (governors, mayors, etc.,) to protect the Americans--no matter the color--in their state/counties. But if they don't, then, the President has authority to take actions to promote peace and stop illegal actions that are brought against innocent people. Constitution provides rights for peaceful assembly. Basic law of the land provides for peace in person, home, freedom to assemble, worship, speech, etc. It boils down to his role as President of the country--to protect all no matter the party, religion, etc.
  • In all fairness, however...

    image
  • Marc asked me a couple of days ago, posted above:

    What is your view of the situation in Seattle as of this morning where a group of people, accused as linked to Antifa, has declared a certain section of the city as under their control--their zone? Do you support them? Just wondering.

    My first question is who exactly accused the protesters who occupied the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) of being Antifa? Marc likes to say things like "accused as linked," "reported to be," "said by some," etc., etc. But notice he never puts in sources, or states who makes the accusations. Learned that tactic from the Cult Leader in Chief. Make wild accusations without facts. Facts are so quaint, and useless, after all, if you are trying to incite.

    My second question would be what exactly happened in CHAZ which left a bunch of Black Lives Matter protesters in charge? Apparently, they took over because the brave-hearted police force boarded up their own precinct building and abandoned the area to the protesters:

    Protests over the killing of George Floyd and police brutality began in Seattle on May 29, 2020. For nine days there were street clashes involving protesters, the Seattle Police Department (SPD), and the Washington National Guard.[17] On June 5, Mayor Jenny Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best announced a 30-day ban on the use of tear gas.[18] Protests eventually coalesced around the SPD's East Precinct building, where the SPD used aggressive dispersal tactics, including blast balls,[19] flash bangs, and pepper spray.[17] By June 7, metal fencing and large cement blocks were placed around the precinct.[17] Later that day, a car drove into a crowd of protesters, after which the driver shot a protester who had attempted to disarm him, before surrendering to police.[17] The crowd outside the precinct grew and police, reporting that protesters were throwing bottles, rocks, and fireworks, were authorized to resume the use of tear gas shortly after midnight.[17] Over 12,000 complaints were filed about the police response to the demonstrations.[20]

    The following afternoon, in a "police retreat",[3] the SPD abandoned the East Precinct, covering the windows with plywood[21] and leaving the front door open.[22] Protesters erected street barricades and declared the area "Free Capitol Hill".


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_Hill_Autonomous_Zone

    Notice the only person with a gun, apparently, was someone who drove into a crowd of protesters. Charlottesville, anyone?

    Note that this article from Wikipedia, which can be written by anybody, but is probably authoritative, says that after nine days of protests, which included "street clashes involving protesters, the Seattle Police Department (SPD), and the Washington National Guard," the protests coalesced around the SPD East Precinct Building. On June 7, "a car drove into a crowd of protesters, after which the driver shot a protester who had attempted to disarm him, before surrendering to police." It is reported with citations, that "the SPD used aggressive dispersal tactics, including blast balls,[19] flash bangs, and pepper spray.[17]"

    Finally, on the afternoon of June 8, in a "police retreat",[3] the SPD abandoned the East Precinct, covering the windows with plywood[21] and leaving the front door open.[22] Protesters erected street barricades and declared the area "Free Capitol Hill".

    Apparently the only person who did any shooting was acting against the protesters, and after he shot a protester, the gunman fled behind police lines to seek protection. The Police used blast balls, flash bangs, and pepper spray. Ultimately, the Police Department boarded up and abandoned their own precinct building. Check the citations in the article.

    I guess nine days of protests would stress anyone out, but it appears the only person who was shot was a protester trying to disarm a gunman.

    Maybe marc didn't read this. Maybe he got his information about CHAZ from FOX News. After all, FOX News can put anything on its network, even if it is made up.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/fox-news-seattle-protests-chaz

    Apparently, Black Lives Matter is in negotiations with SPD to return their precinct building. And nobody burned it down. Imagine that.
  • Sarem Chuuk, BLM feel that this occupation has hijacked the BLM protest. It has turned into its own agenda; not so much in support of BLM as was the original intention of the demonstrations. SPD is trying to find the head of the Zone to negotiate and have not found one. Clearly, it's not BLM; it's something or somebody else with a different agenda.
  • According to FOX News, at least:

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/black-lives-matter-protesters-seattle-chaz-hijacked-message

    Maybe since you know everything without providing sources for your expert and extensive knowledge, you can explain to The Hill that they got it wrong.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/502580-protesters-negotiate-with-local-officials-over-leaving-seattle
  • SC, so this is an old news. Yes, it started as BLM protests with some clear BLM leaders taking the lead. However, it has evolved to become the CHAZ--which has a different emphasis--which has diluted the intensity of the BLM message. And now CHAZ leaders, whoever they may be, is moving to call their zone a different name. They can call it BLM Zone or something but that is not the purpose of some of the secret leaders of CHAZ.
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