Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, retired four-star Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis, released a statement Wednesday blaming the attack on the Capitol building by a group of violent protesters on the president himself.
“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” Jim Mattis told Military.com exclusively in a statement. “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.”
Mattis lamented what he viewed as Trump’s leading role in the chaos, adding that he believes the United States will overcome the mayhem.
“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 said.
The Pentagon’s former leader made the remarks late Wednesday after demonstrators forced their way past several layers of security, breaching the Capitol building and forcing federal offices into lockdown.
Graphic video showed one individual fatally shot during the takeover of the Capitol building, and several others were reportedly killed during the chaotic protest.
The siege ultimately led to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy activating 1,100 troops of the National Guard, and eventually more than 6,000 troops to support law enforcement efforts to quell the mayhem.
Mattis’ criticism of the president continued earlier this week when nine other former defense secretaries published a joint op-ed in the Washington Post denouncing the use of military force to determine an election outcome.
“Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted,” the former officials wrote. “The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived.”
Mattis resigned from Trump’s administration in December 2018 following the president’s announcement that all U.S. troops in Syria would be withdrawn.
“One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships,” Mattis said in his resignation letter. “While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.”
The Capitol demonstration erupted in as part of a civilian effort to disrupt certifying Joe Biden as president-elect. Vice President Mike Pence ultimately counted 306 Electoral College votes for Biden, 232 for Trump.
“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,” Mattis said in The Atlantic.