NEW: Defense Sec. Esper: “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
“The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most … dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.” pic.twitter.com/GcMBjs73rI
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 3, 2020
Courtesy of the AP:
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.”
Esper also said that he had no idea when he walked across Lafayette Square with Trump that they were headed to that Episcopal church for a photo-op.
Courtesy of NBC News:
Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he was given no notice before President Donald Trump led him and other senior administration officials to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a widely criticized photo opportunity.
“I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops,” Esper said Tuesday night in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Esper said he believed they were going to observe the vandalized bathroom in Lafayette Square, which is near the church.
“I didn’t know where I was going,” Esper said. “I wanted to see how much damage actually happened.”
A Pentagon spokesman later told NBC News that Esper was aware the church was one of the locations where he would be viewing damage. The spokesman reiterated that Esper didn’t know the president was going to use it as a photo opportunity.
It looks to me as if the Trump folks are starting to pull away from him because they can smell the stench of defeat wafting off him right now.
Mark Esper is certainly no saint but I think Trump’s latest antics are proving too much for his people to handle.
Soon he may really be all on his own.