Yesterday, The Atlantic published a scathing piece in which Trump’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned the president’s ongoing actions as a threat to the Constitution.
The widely respected general wrote that he feels “angry and appalled” at what he has witnessed from this administration in recent days as protests against police brutality spring up all over the country. Mattis denounced the “bizarre photo op,” which Trump facilitated by having a crowd of American civilians violently dispersed with tear gas so that he could walk to a church unbothered by protestors.
Mattis took aim at Trump personally in the article, identifying him as 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.”
The language was the harshest used by Mattis against Trump to date although he has indicated a lack of confidence in this president in the past. His original decision to resign from this administration was over the president’s incoherent and poorly-considered decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
President Trump responded in the petty, furious manner we’ve come to expect from him and lashed out like a child on Twitter. He claimed that it was an “honor” to fire Mattis who is the “world’s most overrated General.” As usual, the president was trying to paint himself as the only true decisionmaker, since reporting indicates Mattis’s actually resigned in protest.
The tweets were peppered with other insults and once again we see that the party that claims to “love the troops” really only respects them when they’re useful political props. The moment a military member—even one as accomplished and patriotic as Mattis—voices an opinion out of sync with the GOP’s talking points they become a target for attack.
…His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom “brought home the bacon”. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
One might think—if for some reason one still naively held out hope that the GOP can be redeemed—that Republican officials who claim to value our armed services would be quick to rush to Mattis’s defense. Instead, we’re seeing a party full of cowards out itself once again.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s most reliably obsequious toadies, gave a truly pathetic performance on Fox News and tried to paint Mattis as oblivious to what’s really going on.
“To General Mattis, I think you’re missing something here my friend,” said Graham, trying to thread the needle between defending Trump’s rhetoric implicitly without directly insulting Mattis.
“You’re missing the fact that the liberal media has taken every event in the last three and a half years and laid it at the president’s feet. I’m not saying he’s blameless but I am saying that you’re buying into a narrative that I think is quite frankly unfair,” Graham added.
The senator’s argument is patently ridiculous. Mattis saw the inner workings of the Trump administration firsthand, he doesn’t have to rely on reporting or the “liberal media” to know that this president is a chaotic divider incapable of doing the job he is sworn to do. Furthermore, it was Trump not the “liberal media” that ordered peaceful protestors tear-gassed and attacked just to get a photo op.
Watch the embarrassing comments below.
Lindsey Graham's take is that Jim Mattis has been suckered by the anti-Trump "liberal media," just amazing stuff. pic.twitter.com/ckHLZMilIG
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) June 4, 2020
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