Defense Secretary Disagrees With Trump, Opposes Use Of Military To Quell Riots

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FILE - In this March 18, 2020, file photo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks as President Donald Trump listens during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House in Washington. The government’s $3 trillion effort to rescue the economy from the coronavirus crisis is stirring worry at the Pentagon. Bulging federal deficits may force a reversal of years of big defense spending gains and threaten prized projects like the rebuilding of the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. Esper says the sudden burst of emergency spending to prop up a stalled economy is bringing the Pentagon closer to a point where it will have to shed older weapons faster and tighten its belt. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes use of the Insurrection Act, which would allow President Donald Trump to use active-duty military forces for law enforcement duties in containing street protests.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Esper said active-duty troops in a law enforcement role should be used in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” adding, “We are not in one of those situations now.”

Use of the Insurrection Act has been discussed as Trump has talked about using the military to quell violent protests in U.S. cities. Esper has authorized the movement of several active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation’s capital, but they have not been called to action.

In his Pentagon remarks, Esper strongly criticized the actions of the Minneapolis police, in whose custody George Floyd died after an officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Esper called the act “murder” and “a horrible crime.”

(AP)


4 COMMENTS

  1. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion.
    I’d like to hear him explain it to all those people are losing their businesses, investments, and lives of relatives.

  2. He is entitled to give the President his advice, but the President is not required to accept it, and he must obey the President’s orders.