As the fallout from yesterday’s breach of the Capitol building continues to shake the government and its leadership, Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, has stepped up to denounce what he called “acts of violence against our democracy.” Miller, who was appointed by President Trump, released this statement on the matter via the Pentagon moments ago:
“Yesterday’s violence at the Capitol was reprehensible and contrary to the tenets of the United States Constitution. In the midst of this tragedy, I was proud of the professionalism of our Department of Defense personnel. I want to specifically recognize the service of the District of Columbia National Guard. They performed with honor, integrity, and alacrity to protect people and property from unlawful acts.
Our Republic may have been disrupted yesterday, but the resolve of our legislators to conduct the people’s business did not waver. Due to their efforts, supported by local and federal law enforcement and the National Guard, the attempts of those who tried to stop our government from functioning failed.
I strongly condemn these acts of violence against our democracy. I, and the people I lead in the Department of Defense, continue to perform our duties in accordance with our oath of office, and will execute the time-honored peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden on January 20.”
But elsewhere, leaders and former members of the administration pinned responsibility for yesterday’s events squarely on the president. General Mattis, the revered Marine Corps general who served the Trump administration as secretary of defense from January 2017 to January 2019, was direct in his remonstration of President Trump.
“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” General Mattis said in a statement to several news outlets.
“His use of the presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo-political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice,” Mattis added.
Although SecDef Miller’s position is a strong condemnation of the violence, it has sidestepped the question proliferated on mainstream and social media channels of whether President Trump and his allies are responsible for inciting the violence. And for good reason. It’s not the job of the secretary of defense to judge the actions of the Commander in Chief. But it is his job to assure the security and safety of the nation and its vital political processes.
As the country reels from yesterday’s events and concerns over the state of our National Security are raised, Miller’s statement underscores his professionalism and the professionalism of his staff in these unprecedented times.