US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has stated that he doesn’t support President Donald Trump’s idea of using the Insurrection Act in order to deploy military forces in American cities to quell the ongoing violent riots, which were originally sparked by the death of African-American man George Floyd.
He opined that active duty troops should be used only as a last resort, when nothing else can help. The Pentagon chief added that the US is currently not in such a desperate situation.
“I’ve always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best-suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations”, Esper said.
Esper also commented on a media report which said that he had referred to the riot-engulfed US cities as a “battlespace”, admitting that he had used the phrase in conversation with President Donald Trump.
The Pentagon chief explained that the term was used as military lexicon and added that had he had a chance to use another phrase, he would have done so.
The secretary of defense elaborated on another recent political scandal in the US, namely his walk alongside the president to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was preceded by a violent dispersal of peaceful protesters from the nearby square.
He explained that he knew about the walk in advance, but thought it was meant to observe the damage done to Lafayette Park’s facilities by the rioters. Esper went on to say that it’s hard to keep the military out of politics in the run-up to a presidential election.