The Washington Post editorial board on Tuesday warned Donald Trump’s top aides that the president’s threat to unleash the military on protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd could seriously backfire.
Instead, it may plunge the United States further into chaos and unrest, the newspaper wrote in an editorial headlined: “Trump’s threats to deploy troops move America closer to anarchy.”
The board suggested Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must “surely know” that the deployment of military forces in American cities would be “counterproductive” and unsustainable.
“Yet they allowed themselves to be used as props in Mr. Trump’s march across Lafayette Square,” the editorial said, referencing how the men joined the president Monday posing outside a historic church after police had violently cleared peaceful protesters from the area using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
Esper has since claimed he “didn’t know” where he was going on leaving the White House with Trump.
The editorial also noted their participation “in a phone call Monday in which the president demanded that governors use the National Guard to suppress protests.”
“In enabling his incitement, Mr. Trump’s aides are helping him to push the country closer not to order but to anarchy,” the editorial cautioned.