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Defense Secretary to Trump: Are You Bugging? We Aren’t Using the Military Against Protesters

A demonstrator kneels during a march in response to George Floyd’s death on June 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, California.
A demonstrator kneels during a march in response to George Floyd’s death on June 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Brent Stirton (Getty Images)

For days, President Trump has been threatening to use military force to stop peaceful protesting in the name of George Floyd, whose life was taken by Minneapolis police while in their custody.

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On Wednesday, The Root was there to capture Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper reaction when asked about the military being used against American protesters:

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To be honest, it really wasn’t Trump’s fault, as Trump believed as the President of the United States he had the presidential power of a gaggle of Karens and could use the military the way a single Karen uses the police.

But Esper was like, “Man, if you don’t get the fuck out of here with that bullshit and quit calling my work phone...” I’m paraphrasing, as he noted 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,” reports the Washington Post.

In truth, Trump was doing his usual grandstanding and tough-talking, so he probably didn’t check with anyone before yelling that he was going to call in the military.

The actual name for Trump’s military action against his own people is called the Insurrection Act and it gives members of the military the power to arrest folks. Esper said that should only be used as a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.”

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“We are not in one of those situations now,” he said, the Washington Post reports. “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Esper also did a better job of expressing empathy for the killing of Floyd, calling it a “horrible crime” and adding that “racism is real in America, and we must all do our very best to recognize it, to confront it, and to eradicate it.”

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“The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman is a horrible crime. The officers on the scene that day should be held accountable for his murder. It is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times. With great sympathy, I want to extend the deepest of condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd from me and the Department. Racism is real in America, and we must all do our very best to recognize it, to confront it, and to eradicate it,” Esper said, the Washington Post reports.

And now senior White House reporter for NBC News digital (with the best last name in journalism) Shannon Pettypiece is noting that Esper’s words weren’t well-received by the White House, and by White House, I’m sure they mean Trump since he hates when anyone tells him “no.”

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So I hope Esper has updated his LinkedIn profile because the clock is ticking on how long he’s in his current position of being better than the president.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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DISCUSSION

thhg
The Holy Hand Grenade

Your writing brings up a very pressing point: how do we properly describe a group of Karens?

A Kaggle of Karens?

A Hot Yoga Studio of Karens?

Kale?

You’re Gonna Need More Hairspray?

A Privilege of Karens?

A White Evangelical Church of Karens?