Mark Esper didn’t know what would happen at the church after peaceful protesters were tear-gassed to make way for him to go to the church with Trump, for what that’s worth:
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Wednesday that he does not support the use of active-duty military forces in quelling countrywide unrest — a statement that puts him at odds with President Trump, who has threatened to send troops into U.S. cities.
Trump’s warning, in response to waves of protest over the police killing of George Floyd, would require the invocation of the Insurrection Act to give members of the military the power to arrest. Esper said the measure should be used only as a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.”
“We are not in one of those situations now,” he said. “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
So now the history books will dutifully record that Esper “broke with Trump” on the invocation of the Insurrection Act, which Trump was never going to do, and they will also record that he had some post-protester-abuse squeamishness. Duly noted. I’m going to pause and marvel at the notion that Esper or anyone else in the Trump Administration really thinks that they will escape from this with anything resembling a good reputation. Oh, wait, here’s why they think that:
NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander is an effective stenographer — it wasn’t “tear gas,” it was a gas that causes eyes to tear up. I’m sure Esper’s exclusive to him or Maggie Haberman or some other credulous hack will detail the dark struggle of the soul that accompanied every moment of Esper’s tenure at the DoD.
While I’m on the theme of the feelings and insights of enablers, I refrained from posting about this piece by the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal” when it came out, but it’s been sticking in my craw. The article solemnly informs us that Trump is a psychopath, and cautions against what Trump will do in future, making it sound like Trump has some kind of superpowers that reside in him alone. That’s a ridiculous piece of self-serving reasoning. Trump’s success comes from the coterie of enablers that follow him around: Bill Barr, Lindsey Graham, Mark Esper, the guy who ghostwrote “The Art of the Deal” and hundreds of others. All of them thought they could get something from their association with Trump, and after it’s clear that Trump got them to do his dirty work and they’ve stained their reputations, they are looking for a cleanup. Fuck ’em, individually and collectively.
Update: I forgot to mention that Esper told the DoD chiefs to shush up about the Floyd killing until Esper could get his response out over a week later.