Trump trying to 'divide' America: ex-Pentagon chief Mattis

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. — AFP File

Trump made the comment after the former US Secretary of Defence on Wednesday criticised him for dividing the American people.

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was sacked.

"Instead, he tries to divide us", Mattis wrote. He also brought up Nazi strategy in his statement. "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".

However, in the wake of protests and riots rocking the country over the death of George Floyd, Mattis has spoken out against Trump's threat to call in the military to handle the situation if necessary.

"We must reject any thinking of our cities as a "battlespace" that our uniformed military is called upon to 'dominate.' At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors".

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Denouncing Trump's "abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square", - presumably referring to Monday's clearing of the demonstrators before the president visited the church damaged in the riots the evening before - Mattis argued that the military violated the constitutional rights of Americans to "provide a freaky photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside".

"I did know we were going to the church".

What he's saying: "The president did not fire him".

Mattis "ain't listening" to criticism, Jones warned Trump supporters, because he has "a set of ideals and he's adhering to a fault". They are particularly surprising given his extreme reluctance to criticize Trump in scores of interviews and appearances since he left office over policy differences with the USA president.

Kelly pushed back at Trump's claim that he fired Mattis in an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday.

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Paul, Minnesota; Columbia, South Carolina; and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms. Domination", wrote Trump, who a day earlier declared himself "your president of law and order".

Neither the White House nor the Pentagon immediately responded to requests for comment on Wednesday night.

Mattis's broadside breaks a near silence from the ex-Marine general since he resigned in December 2018. He gave February 28, 2019 as his last day on the job.

Even leftist journalists and activists pointed out that Mattis - nicknamed "Mad Dog" for his role in the destruction of the Iraqi city of Fallujah - hardly had a moral leg to stand on in this instance.

The President, in a statement on his official Twitter account, disclosed that the only thing he has in common with Obama is the honour of firing Jim Mattis, the world's most overrated General. I mean, he is some- he is some great man.

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