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Trump’s Protest Crisis Deepens With Rebukes From Defense Chiefs

  • Mattis unloads on Trump after Pentagon Chief Esper pushes back
  • Trump pledging to force troops into states to quash protests
Former Defense Secretary Mattis Condemns Trump for Dividing Nation

Donald Trump faced a direct challenge to his leadership from his current and former defense secretaries, who issued a pair of rare public dissents questioning the president’s threat to use military force against rolling, nationwide protests over police brutality.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a news conference on Wednesday that he did not support invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act to quell protests using the military, saying National Guard troops are sufficient. Esper said active-duty troops should be a last resort, angering White House officials and Trump for what they regarded as a matter of breaking rank.