Secretary Mark Esper On Accompanying President Trump To St. John’s Church
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[Secretary Mark Esper On Accompanying President Trump To St. John’s Church]
[Mark Thomas Esper:] Source: LYBIO.net
Well good morning everyone.
Over the past couple days there’s been a fair share of reporting – some good some bad, about what is transparent transpiring in our great nation, and the roll Department Defense and its leaders.
I want to take a few minutes to address these issues in person, to make the the facts and offer my views.
First, let me say upfront the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis policemen is a horrible crime.
The officers on the scene that they should be held accountable for his murder – is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times.
With great sympathy, I want to extend my deepest 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.
I’ve always been proud to be a member of an institution United States military that embraces diversity and inclusion, and prohibits hate and discrimination in all forms.
More often than not, we have led on these issues.
While we still have much to do on this front, leaders across DOD, and the services, take this responsibility seriously. And we are determined to make a difference.
Every member of this Department has Sworn an Oath to uphold and defend The Constitution of the United States of America. I have taken this Oath many times – beginning at the age of 18 when I entered West Point.
The rights that are embedded in this great Document begin with the First Amendment, which guarantees the five freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government.
The United States Military is sworn to defend these – and all other rights.
And we encourage Americans at all times to exercise them peacefully.
It is these Rights and Freedoms that make our country so special.
And it is these Rights and Freedoms that American Service members are willing to fight and die for.
At times however, The United States Military has asked in support of Governors and Law Enforcement to help maintain Law and Order, so that other Americans can exercise their rights free from violence against themselves or their property.
That is what thousands of Guardsmen are doing today in cities across America.
It i’s not something we seek to do – but it is our Duty and we do it with the utmost skill and professionalism.
I was reminded of that Monday as I visited our National Guardsmen who run the duty Monday night protecting our most hallowed grounds and monuments.
I’m very proud of men and women of The National Guard who are out on the streets today performing this important task.
And in a many ways at the risk of their own welfare.
I’ve always believed and continue to believe that The National Guard is best suited for performing Domestic support Civil Authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement.
I say this not only as Secretary of Defense but also is a Former Soldier and a Former Member of The National Guard.
The option to use Active Duty Forces in a Law enforcement role should only be used as a matter as a last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.
We are not in one of those situations now.
I do not support the Insurrection Act.
[Mark Thomas Esper:] Source: LYBIO.net
Last night a story came out based on a background interview I did earlier in the day – it focused on the events last Monday evening in Lafayette Park.
And I found it to be inaccurate in parts; so I want to state it very clearly for all to hear my account of what happened that Monday afternoon.
I did know that following the President’s remarks on Monday evening that many of us were going to join President Trump and review the damage in Lafayette Park and at St John’s Episcopal Church.
But I was not aware of was exactly, where we’re going – where we arrived at the church and what the plans were as we got there.
It was also my aim and General Milley’s to meet with and thank The Members of The National Guard who were on duty that evening in the park.
It is something The President likes to do as well.
The path we took to and from the church didn’t afford us that opportunity.
But I was able to spend a considerable amount of time with our guardsmen later that evening, as I moved around the city to many locations at which they were posted.
I also want to address a few other matters that have been raised about that evening.
First, National Guard Forces did not fire rubber bullets, or tear gas into the crowd, as reported.
Second, Guardsmen were instructed to wear helmets, and personal protective equipment, for their own protection, not to serve as some form of intimidation.
3rd, military leaders including the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff were wearing field uniforms, because that is appropriate uniform when working in a Command Center and meeting with troops in the streets.
Forth, it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon, that we determined it was a National Guard helicopter that hovered low over a city block in DC.
Within an hour or so of learning of this, I directed The Secretary of The Army to conduct an inquiry to determine what happened and why, and to report back to me.
Now, you all have been very generous with your time, so let me wrap up by stating again, how very proud I am of our men and women in uniform.
The National Guard over the short span of several months, has gone from tackling natural disasters such as floods, to combating the Coronavirus across the country, to now dealing with civil unrest in support of law enforcement on the streets of America, all while many of their fellow guardsmen are deployed abroad, defending against America’s real adversaries.
Most importantly, I want to assure all of you – and all Americans, that the Department of Defense, The Armed Services, our uniformed leaders, our civilian leaders, and I take seriously our oath to support and defend The Constitution of the United States, and to safeguard those very rights contained in that document we cherish so dearly.
This is a tough time for our great country these days, but we will get through it.
My hope is that instead of the violence in the streets, we will see peaceful demonstrations that honor George Floyd, that press for accountability for his murder, that move us to reflect about racism in America, and that serve as a call to action for us to come together and to address this problem once and for all.
This is the America your Military represents. This is The America we aspire to be. And this is The America that we’re committed to defending with our lives.
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Secretary Mark Esper On Accompanying President Trump To St. John’s Church. First, let me say upfront the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis policemen is a horrible crime. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.