“THAT’S CALLED A MUTINY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 6, 2020) — At approximately the 25-minute mark in his Thursday broadcast, radio host and political commentator Dan Bongino stated that he has been in touch with “multiple sources” who say a number of current military officials and civilians are considering defying President Trump if he decides to deploy National Guard troops to various cities where violence has overwhelmed local police forces.
The anarchic group ANTIFA has been identified as a major force behind the criminal activity, with the U.S. Justice Department last Sunday declaring it a “domestic terrorism” organization.
“Protests” arising since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis have morphed into destruction, looting, attacks against civilians and police officers, and murder, in response to which Trump threatened Monday to dispatch active military by invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act.
Normally, the military is prohibited from acting as law-enforcers on U.S. soil by virtue of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, but the Insurrection Act, which was invoked by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, among others, states that it can apply to instances where there is “Interference with State and Federal law” in order to maintain the constitutional rights of the people.
Last weekend, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requested of Trump National Guard troops, “acknowledging that the situation de-escalated after thousands of troops were deployed on Minneapolis streets,” according to a conference call between Trump and governors leaked to The New York Times and as reported by The New York Post.
While personally opposed to the hypothetical positioning of the military at U.S. posts at this time, Bongino expressed support for Trump’s having raised it as an “option” at his Monday-afternoon press conference to address what had become the nightly destruction of property, businesses, and lives in major U.S. cities.
Some media have reported that Trump expressed a desire to use the military in response to “lawful protests” or downplayed the level of destruction, injury and loss of life emanating from the initial protests.
“What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace,” Trump said on Monday evening regarding a fire set in the basement of Washington, DC’s St. John’s Church, which is located across the street from the White House.
Also known as the “Church of Presidents,” the 204-year-old Episcopal church has been attended by every president dating back to James Madison, who served from 1809 to 1817.
After giving his brief address, Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, among a group of others and Secret Service agents, walked to St. John’s, where Trump held up a Bible and said, “We have a great country.” He expressed optimism that the nation will soon recover its prosperity and growth marred by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting economic strife and the recent violence.
On Tuesday, National Guardsmen were positioned in the nation’s capital to “assist” local police in maintaining order, The Military Times reported. National Guard Bureau Chief Joseph Lengyel told the press that National Guardsmen from Indiana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah and would be relocated to Washington, DC that evening to perform support services.
The Times indicated that Guardsmen will not be acting in a law-enforcement capacity.
On Wednesday, at the same time as former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his knowledge of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation involving the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, Esper spoke publicly, stressing that he opposed the use of the Insurrection Act to quell the current violence.
During her daily press briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Esper did not confer with the president prior to making his remarks that morning. McEnany was asked by a reporter if the president retained “confidence” in the defense secretary given his stated opposition; in response, McEnany said reporters would be the “first to know” if the president lost confidence. “As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper. Should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future,” she said.
Bongino’s observations came against the backdrop of Trump’s first Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, having been highly critical of Trump on Wednesday as “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.” After Trump tweeted that both he and Barack Obama fired Mattis, Trump’s second Chief of Staff and former Homeland Security Secretary, General John Kelly (Ret), came out in support of Mattis’s claim that he resigned rather than that Trump fired him.
Mattis said he objected to Trump’s “bizarre photo op…with military leadership standing alongside” at St. John’s.
Trump responded to Mattis’s criticism by tweeting that he considers Mattis to be “the world’s most overrated general.” Obama reportedly fired Mattis “without even a phone call” in January 2013 after experiencing a policy difference over Iran, while Mattis disagreed with Trump on his declaration to remove most U.S. troops from Syria in 2018.
Surrounding Mattis’s departure, Politico wrote late that year that Mattis “made it known around town that he was running the Pentagon only to protect it, if not the world, from the president, and for nearly two years he was more or less able to prevent an outright crisis.”
It was not the first time Mattis was critical of his former boss, although some media reported Mattis maintained strict silence since he left the administration.
On Friday, Kelly declared that regarding lending assistance to the police, “The troops hate it, they don’t see it as their job, they don’t want to be used in that way.” His remarks were made to onetime White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired in 2017 after 11 days on the job and a profanity-laced tirade over a leak recorded by then-New Yorker “journalist” Ryan Lizza was released publicly. Once a strong Trump supporter, Scaramucci has more recently called Trump “crazy” and “off the rails.”
Lizza, who was fired by The New Yorker after an allegation of sexual misconduct arose, retained his contemporaneous position as a political commentator at CNN.
On Friday, Esper ordered National Guardsmen in Washington, DC to wear “soft caps instead of helmets” and to disarm “on his own,” Breitbart reported. According to the same source, Trump is considering dismissing Esper.
At 30:15 in the broadcast, Bongino said, “What I’m hearing from people is that there are some military brass…and some civilian representatives in the military — undersecretary types and others — who are organizing together and talking about how they’re going to either talk the president out of, or just simply not obey his orders if the president, God forbid…These are not second-rate, garbage sources. These are legitimate real people who are genuinely concerned that some, some upper-level people in our military are openly talking about defying the president of the United States. That’s got a name; that’s called a mutiny. What is this — Venezuela?”
Observing that the presidential election “will be here in November,” Bongino continued, “The mere suggestion that the President of the United States is no longer the commander-in-chief and some band of military insiders is somehow going to band together and collectively ignore the President of the United States — again, I have not relayed or passed on to you a more serious, dreadful piece of information than that. It’s not a joke. You don’t like the president’s judgment, that’s fine; you vote him out of office. If the president is no longer the de jure and becomes just the de facto commander-in-chief, you’re going to have a country ruled by upper-level people in the military who just decide what they want when they want it. That’s not a constitutional republic.”
Although Bongino went on to say that the reported potential mutineers are “a limited group of people,” he sees them as “people with enough power that this is very dangerous.” He also said they were “being egged on by the fake conservative class…they’re also being egged on by former military officials” who “are now deciding to act like politicians. One of them is James Mattis.”
Bongino then cited Matti’s June 3 interview with The Atlantic, an article The Post & Email referenced above prior to hearing that part of Bongino’s broadcast.
Obama’s Joint Chiefs Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey (Ret), also spoke out against Trump’s proposal to use the Insurrection Act by stating that the U.S. military should be deployed only to “conflict in external wars.” However, Dempsey was the “commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command” (TRADOC) when U.S. Army troops were deployed from Ft. Rucker to Samson, AL on March 10, 2009 to “control the crime scene” after the small, rural town experienced an unprecedented mass shooting, after which the Army inspector general determined that the deployment “violated federal law.”
According to a detailed report by CNS News at the time, neither then-Alabama Gov. Bob Riley nor White House occupant Barack Hussein Obama requested the presence of military troops in Samson.
“This idea that we have to maintain a relationship of trust between the American people and its military is important because that is who we are,” Dempsey told NPR on Thursday. “But also, pragmatically, we have an all-volunteer force and we ask parents across the country to share their sons and daughters with us for a period of military service, and were we to lose the trust and confidence of the American people, it would make sustaining that all volunteer force more than difficult.”
In 2011, Obama chose Dempsey to become his Joint Chiefs Chairman.
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