Donald Trump thanks Wendy’s for their donation and then says he would beat up Jesus if he got in his way.
so no thank you were very happy with the
donation from Wendy’s okay and you know
it’s it’s a nice thing because I tell
you Wendy was not so hot okay they
wouldn’t use a cartoon of her if she was
if she was like a hot redhead okay like
you know the one from Mad Men that’s a
great that’s a little thick for me but
you know that’s that’s a redhead if
Wendy looked like her it was Joan you
think they’d be using the cartoon now
they’d be putting like her breasts as
the logo for the show but instead Wendy
you know but we take the money we
appreciate even though Wendy was not so
hot and but I’m having a great time with
the evangelicals they’re great great
people they I think that I think they
liked it when I had deer gassed
everybody away from the church so I
could stand and hold a Bible I don’t
think the evangelicals who support me I
don’t even think they’d like Jesus if he
was here first of all he’s like Middle
Eastern so broadly a terrorist and he’d
be talking love and peace and all this
very weak ok very weak person let me
tell you something if Jesus was in front
of that church last night I would have
punched him right in the face I mean I
would have really you know I would have
sent a strong message you got to
dominate when a guy when the Brent’s off
base and that’s what they call him I
don’t think he’s dead he’s I mean he was
no real Prince but but we love Him we
love you know Jesus
bla bla bla but I got to tell you when
he was no Prince it was a very weak guy
and you send a strong message if a guy
tries to step in front he and he goes
himself the Prince of Peace or the king
of the Jews which we all know is Bibi
Netanyahu great guy
that’s a tough that’s a that’s a Jewish
person that can lead but if you punch
Jesus right in the face in front of all
those protesters they know you mean
business you got to dominate when a
peaceful Son of God shows up you got to
dominate or else all of a sudden they’re
gonna follow him so I would have punched
Jesus right in the mouth but these
evangelicals they’re so stupid they are
the ones that support me anyway I think
they just won all the Old Testament
nastiness which I love but without any
other like niceness of the New Testament
so I think it’s great I think we do
very strong and we’re dominating and
it’s a good thing so we’ll see what
WASHINGTON — For the first three years of President Trump’s time in office, his blunt-force view of the military was confined to threatening American adversaries: “fire and fury” if North Korea challenged American troops. A warning that he would “shoot down and destroy” Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. Billions spent to rejuvenate a nuclear arsenal he viewed as the ultimate source of American power.
His generals and admirals accepted a commander in chief with what they diplomatically dismissed as a “unique style” — and they welcomed the increase in military spending. His chief diplomats, while embarrassed, saw some utility in trying to force adversaries to the table.
Now, that tolerance has frayed. Mr. Trump’s threat to use the 1807 Insurrection Act to send active-duty troops on American soil against protesters has laid bare the chasm in the national security community that was forming even when he ran for office in 2016.
Back then it was only a limited group of “Never Trumpers” — establishment Republican national security professionals repelled by Mr. Trump’s description of how American power should be wielded around the world — who wrote and spoke of the dangers. He “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president, they wrote, and “would put at risk our country’s national security.”
This week, it was his former defense secretary, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a range of other retired senior officers who were saying in public what they previously said only in private: that the risk lies in the fact that the president regards the military, which historically has prized its nonpartisan, apolitical role in society, as just another political force to be massed to his advantage.
“There is a thin line between the military’s tolerance for questionable partisan moves over the past three years and the point where these become intolerable for an apolitical military,” said Douglas E. Lute, a retired three-star Army general who coordinated Afghanistan and Pakistan operations on the National Security Council for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and later became the American ambassador to NATO. “Relatively minor episodes have accumulated imperceptibly, but we are now at a point of where real damage is being done.”
“As that team walked across Lafayette Park with the president,” after the heavy-handed clearing of a peaceful demonstration, he said, “they crossed that line.”
By Thursday afternoon, there was only an uneasy truce, as Mr. Trump agreed to begin sending home from the Washington region some of the 1,600 active-duty troops — ordered from Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Drum, N.Y., to quell protests — that defense officials never wanted here in the first place.
But both sides expected the turmoil that began with nationwide demonstrations against the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in police custody to continue.
One general officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid punishment from his superiors, said on Thursday that he was hoping to make it through another day without having to cite his constitutional obligations to decline an illegal order. He said he would not be surprised if he faced such a dilemma in the coming weeks.
Former top officers were able to speak more freely.
“Right now, the last thing the country needs — and, frankly, the U.S. military needs — is the appearance of U.S. soldiers carrying out the president’s intent by descending on American citizens,” John R. Allen, a retired four-star Marine general, wrote in Foreign Policy. “This could wreck the high regard Americans have for their military, and much more.” Last year, 73 percent of the public in an annual Gallup poll reported either “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military, making it the highest of the institutions polled.
Military officials’ fears seemed to be borne out during the protests this week in Washington, where by Wednesday night those in uniform facing the peaceful crowd were no longer police officers or Secret Service but National Guard soldiers in camouflage. They stood on 16th Street near the White House in front of two Army transport trucks. Although they were not active-duty military troops, to the protesters they looked like them.
The crowd hurled obscenities and invective. “Fascists!” one person screamed. “Brainwashed!” another yelled.
“We don’t need military artillery to control a city,” Arianna Evans, 23, of Bowie, Md., said in a later interview. “We just don’t, not unless it’s goddamn Yemen.”
Senior Pentagon leaders worry that a militarized and heavy-handed response to the protests, Mr. Trump’s stated wish, will turn the American public against the troops, like what happened in the waning years of the Vietnam War, when National Guard troops in combat fatigues battled antiwar protesters at Kent State. The retired Sgt. Alan Kraus, a combat infantryman in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971, said in a telephone interview that when he returned home from Vietnam, he hung up his uniform and never put it back on, lest he become the target of protesters in the street.
“The purpose of the military is to train soldiers to treat the enemy as inferior human beings or not human beings at all because that makes them easier to kill,” Sergeant Kraus said, adding that it was very hard to “unlearn” all of that training when the military is dealing with civilians.
Both Mr. Esper and General Milley have faced a hail of criticism since their walk across the park with Mr. Trump, and their ties to the president seem to be shifting back to the troops and the Constitution. Mr. Esper, a former Army officer and Persian Gulf war veteran turned Beltway lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon, seemed particularly stunned at what he had stumbled into.
When he told NBC News that “I didn’t know where I was going,” he was speaking narrowly about being unaware that he was headed to the church. But his comment seemed to apply more broadly: that he did not understand that he was symbolically embracing the use of American military forces — the National Guard, and not yet active-duty troops — to suppress peaceful protest. He did not help himself by declaring that same day, to governors, that the mission was to “dominate the battle space” in American cities, as if he were discussing an operation in Anbar Province.
For Mr. Trump, who avoided the risk of being drafted into the Vietnam War with a diagnosis of bone spurs, acceptance by the Pentagon has been key — to him and to his base. He celebrated the hiring of Gen. Jim Mattis as his first defense secretary, and then he went looking for other generals: Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, his first national security adviser; Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his second national security adviser; and Gen. John F. Kelly, his second chief of staff.
None of those relationships ended well. But it was Mr. Mattis’s decision to break his long silence, and to declare that Mr. Trump was “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” that broke the dam.
Mr. Mattis, as a student of the rise and fall of civilizations, added: “We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battle space’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’” His critique, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said on Thursday, was “true and honest and necessary and overdue,” a rare Republican break with Mr. Trump.
It was not until this week that the consequences of those differing views about the purposes of the military became evident to many Americans. Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, denounced the use of the military to support the political acts of a president who had “laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country.”
“The United States has a long and, to be fair, sometimes troubled history of using the armed forces to enforce domestic laws,” Admiral Mullen wrote in The Atlantic. “The issue for us today is not whether this authority exists, but whether it will be wisely administered.”
For many of these officers, the question was whether Mr. Trump was aware of that history. The Declaration of Independence, several noted, dwelled on the complaints that the King of England “kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures,” and tried to “render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.”
That is pretty close to what Mr. Trump did on Monday night when he declared that General Milley was “in charge” of what was happening in the streets.
It is not a role, it turns out, that most in his military want.
Seth takes a closer look at President Trump threatening to unleash the military on American citizens protesting the brutal police murder of George Floyd.
“As a former CIA officer, I know this playbook,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) said in a tweet. Before her election to Congress last year, she worked at the agency on issues including terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
One U.S. intelligence official even ventured into downtown Washington on Monday evening, as if taking measure of the street-level mood in a foreign country.
“Things escalated quickly,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of his job. He emphasized that he went as a concerned citizen, not in any official capacity. After seeing tear gas canisters underfoot, he said, he “knew it was time to go” and departed.
Former intelligence officials said
- the unrest and the administration’s militaristic response are among many measures of decay they would flag if writing assessments about the United States for another country’s intelligence service.
- They cited the country’s struggle to contain the novel coronavirus,
- the president’s attempt to pressure Ukraine for political favors, his
- attacks on the news media and the
- increasingly polarized political climate as other signs of dysfunction.
Trump supporters have defended his handling of the unrest, and his trip across Lafayette Square as a display of the strength needed to restore order in dozens of cities where protests have led to looting, fires and violence.
Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (R) said it was “hard to imagine” any other president “having the guts to walk out of the White House like this.”
But there were also indications that senior members of the administration were uncomfortable with the president’s outing and eager to minimize their role in it.
A senior Pentagon official said Tuesday that neither Esper nor Milley knew when they set out to accompany Trump that police were about to charge through seemingly peaceful protesters or that they would play supporting roles in a photo op.
Even away from the cameras, Trump has assiduously cultivated the aura of a strongman. Earlier Monday, he had chided governors as “weak” for failing to employ adequate force in the face of mounting protests.
“If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” Trump said. He offered no words on how to ease tensions in crowds that have massed largely in anger over the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed while being pinned to the ground, a knee against his neck, by police in Minneapolis.
Brett McGurk, a former top U.S. envoy to the Middle East who spent two years in the Trump administration, said the president’s words — recorded by participants and shared with news organizations — would only embolden the world’s autocrats and undermine U.S. authority.
“The imagery of a head of state in a call with other governing officials saying, ‘Dominate the streets, dominate the battlespace’ — these are iconic images that will define America for some time,” said McGurk, who led U.S. diplomatic efforts to counter the Islamic State terrorist group. “It makes it much more difficult for us to distinguish ourselves from other countries we are trying to contest” or influence, he said.
In recent years, U.S. officials have urged restraint or denounced crackdowns against protesters or vulnerable groups in Russia, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Syria and other countries.
Even this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lectured China about its efforts to prevent citizens of Hong Kong from holding a vigil to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.
“If there is any doubt about Beijing’s intent, it is to deny Hong Kongers a voice and a choice,” Pompeo said in a statement that was met with derision on Twitter because it coincided with crackdowns urged by Trump in the United States.
The seeming hypocrisy in the U.S. position has not been lost on foreign targets of American pressure or criticism.
Ramzan Kadyrov, a Chechen leader who has faced U.S. sanctions for alleged human rights abuses, said Tuesday that he was “watching with horror the situation in the United States, where the authorities are maliciously violating ordinary citizens’ rights,” according to reports from Moscow.
The president brandishes a Bible in front of a church, in search of a divine mandate that isn’t coming.
Late Monday afternoon, President Trump emerged from the White House and strode in the cool spring daylight to St. John’s Church in Lafayette Square. It was supposed to be an act of defiance: Mr. Trump has bristled at the observation that during the protests roiling the capital he has burrowed into a fortified bunker rather than addressing the nation.
Like most performances arranged by Mr. Trump and associates, it made only a disjointed sort of sense. Yes, the president’s decision to march through the heart of the city’s unrest caused police and National Guard units to blast a peaceful crowd with tear gas and rubber bullets, carving a punishing path to the steps of St. John’s. But the show of force seemed to emphasize only that his legitimacy has shrunk to the point that he feels moved to dominate his own people with military power.
As he took up his post before the church, which was partially boarded up after a minor fire that broke out during a recent protest, Mr. Trump set his face in a stony scowl and held up a black Bible, tightly closed. “Is it your Bible?” a reporter shouted. “It’s a Bible,” Mr. Trump said neutrally. The entire routine was vulgar, blunt: There Mr. Trump was, holding aloft this mute book — neither opened, cited, nor read from — in the shadow of a vandalized church, claiming the mantle of righteousness.
After all, that was what he had come to do. A ruler maintaining order strictly by brute force has a problem. Such regimes are volatile and fragile, subject to eruptive dissolution. Mr. Trump may lack the experience or interest to even pantomime genuine Christian practice, but he has acute instincts when it comes to the symbolism of leadership. He seemed to know, as he positioned himself as the defender of the Christian faith, that he needed to imbue his presidency with some renewed moral purpose; Christianity was simply a convenient vein to tap.
“I think that’s a standard trope in American political frames of reference,” Luke Bretherton told me on a Monday night phone call. Mr. Bretherton, who is a professor of moral and political theology at Duke University’s Divinity School, cited Cold War efforts to demonize socialism as viciously atheistic and amoral. It was work undertaken with anxious eagerness precisely because socialist criticisms of American life were substantial and compelling.
So it goes with the protesters who have gathered to condemn the murder of George Floyd and the murders of others like him, black men and women slaughtered in America’s streets and in their homes by those entrusted with the force of its laws. Their moral case is clear, urgent, compelling. In Mr. Trump’s eyes, Mr. Bretherton said, “there’s only one way to combat that symbolically: “To claim divine sanction for what amounts to a declaration of martial law.”
Of course Mr. Trump is uninterested in the particularities of the Christian religion. St. John’s is a liberal Episcopal church, whose presiding bishop, Michael Curry, has vehemently condemned the stunt. (In a twist of bitter irony, the church’s sign posted behind Mr. Trump stated that “all are welcome.”) On Tuesday the president visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, a holy space maintained by the Knights of Columbus, in honor of the pope whose blood resides in the shrine as a relic for veneration by the faithful. Mr. Trump is, of course, not Catholic; like the macabre parade in front of St. John’s, this is just an attempt at recruiting a vague Christian pastiche as the moral core of his authoritarian efforts.
Christian leaders ought to condemn this blatant prostitution of the glory of God. Some, like Mr. Curry, will; others won’t, either because of their own political allegiances or fear of Mr. Trump’s wrath. But the most worrisome prospect is that it won’t matter at all what Christian leaders do; Mr. Trump doesn’t need them to stake his claim.
“It’s significant that Trump did this alone,” Mr. Bretherton observed. Unlike prior presidents who sometimes appeared on grave occasions with priests or pastors, Mr. Trump “doesn’t need a Billy Graham figure to give divine sanction. He doesn’t need a priestly figure. He himself can be the mediator.”
And yet it is still worth saying that the Christian faith does not condone the wanton destruction of human life or the presumption of God’s blessing by any earthly power. At the heart of the faith is servitude, not domination; Mr. Trump, hoisting the Bible aloft like a scepter, clearly has other plans.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ is tempted by Satan three times, and the final temptation is this: dominion over “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” Christ rejected the offer, scripture holds; “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him,” he rebuked the Devil. But it wouldn’t have been a temptation if it weren’t in some way enticing. One imagines that Lucifer didn’t retire the gambit because of the one defeat and that in his years of similar propositions, he must have had many takers.