Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, a frequent critic of President Trump, blasted his former boss after the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday and accused him of having “fomented” them.
“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” Mattis said. “His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”
“Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country,” he added.
A blistering rebuke from President Trump's first Secretary of Defense: "Our Constitution & our Republic will overcome this stain …while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country." – James Mattis pic.twitter.com/ZXBVf3MQKh
— Anthony Mason (@AnthonyMasonCBS) January 7, 2021
Mattis, who served in the Trump administration for two years, took a notably different angle toward the violent riots that roiled the country over the summer.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis said in June, according to a statement obtained by The Atlantic. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand – one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values – our values as people and our values as a nation.”
“When I joined the military some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens – much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” he said.
Mattis continued, seemingly comparing Trump to Nazi Germany:
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. 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.
Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.
“Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General,” Trump wrote in response to Mattis’ June statement. “I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was ‘Chaos,’ which I didn’t like, & changed to ‘Mad Dog.’”
“His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations,” Trump continued. “I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom ‘brought home the bacon.’ I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!”
…His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom “brought home the bacon”. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020