Ex-defense chief Mattis rips Trump for dividing Americans

Former Pentagon leader denounces President Donald Trump for heavy-handed use of military to quash protests.


National News

June 4, 2020 - 9:15 AM

Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on August 28, 2018. Photo by (Zach Gibson/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary rebuke, former defense secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday denounced President Donald Trump’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests near the White House and said his former boss was setting up a “false conflict” between the military and civilian society.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote.

The criticism was all the more remarkable because Mattis has generally kept a low profile since retiring as defense secretary in December 2018 to protest Trump’s Syria policy. He had declined to speak out against Trump, saying he owed the nation public silence while his former boss remained in office.

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