Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe, retired Navy Admiral William McRaven criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to use tear gas to clear peaceful protesters for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C.
“In the military, there are three criteria for every decision we make,” McRaven said. “It has to be moral, legal, and ethical. [To be] Ethical you have to follow the rules, legally you have to follow the law, and to be moral you have to follow what you know to be right, and either way, this was just not right. You’re not going to use, whether it’s the military or the National Guard, to clear peaceful American citizens for the President of the United States to take a photo op. There is nothing morally right about that.”
“I was very pleased to see Jim Mattis, and obviously Mike Mullen, and John Kelly come out and reinforce what we know to be the principles of the US military,” he added. “We all raise our right hands and swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States. It is not the to president of the Untied States. It is to the Constitution,” McRaven said.
McRaven referred to remarks issued by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday. Speaking in response to the protests that erupted after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Mattis said Trump is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people.”
Trump “does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis said.
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” he continued. “We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”