When violent riots broke out last summer in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, then-US President Donald Trump is said to have wanted the military to intervene with violence.
Chief of Defense Mark Milley is said to have rejected Trump’s demand that the forces intervene in the crowds by “crushing shells”.
It appears in an excerpt from the upcoming book “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” by The Wall Street Journal journalist Michael Bender.
– Just shoot them
CNN has obtained an excerpt describing how Chief of Defense Mark Milley must have felt that he was the only one who showed resistance during heated discussions with Donald Trump about the handling of the demonstrations.
The book describes how the former president wanted to crack down on the demonstrations that broke out in Seattle and Portland.
According to the book, Trump has referred to videos of police officers who became violent with protesters – and said that he wanted more of it.
– That’s the way to treat these people. Crush their skulls, Trump said, according to the book.
– Just shoot them, he is said to have said on several occasions in the Oval Office. However, the former president is said to have toned it down when he received opposition from the Chief of Defense and former Minister of Justice William Barr, according to the excerpt.
– Well, shoot them in the leg – or maybe the foot. But be tough on them, Trump reportedly said.
It was last summer that violent demonstrations broke out in the United States, after African-American George Floyd (46) lost his life.
Policeman Derek Chauvin was filmed pushing the knee against Floyd’s neck during the arrest of Floyd in Minneapolis for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Since then, Chauvin has been fired and in April was found guilty of the premeditated murder of George Floyd.
On Friday night Norwegian time, it became clear that Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison.
– Will take necessary steps
In June last year, Trump threatened to use the so-called insurgency law – The Insurrection Act – as a result of the demonstrations. The law was signed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, and was last enacted in 1992 to quell the riots that followed the acquittal of four police officers charged with violence against Rodney King.
“If a city or state refuses to take the necessary steps to protect the lives and property of its citizens, I will deploy the military and solve the problem for them quickly,” Trump said during a news conference.
According to the book, Secretary of Defense Milley, during a meeting with Trump, pointed to a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States – who led the country through the American Civil War – and said the following to Trump:
– That guy had a riot. What we have is a demonstration, Milley said according to the book.
The chief of defense allegedly asked Trump adviser Stephen Miller to “shut up” after Miller stated that “cities are burning” as a result of the demonstrations.
Regretted the performance
In June last year, police and the National Guard cleared the area outside the White House of protesters protesting against police violence and racism. The protesters appeared peaceful, and riot police fired tear gas and used pepper spray and stun grenades at the crowd to pave the way for the president.
The incident created strong reactions.
Milley later stated that he regretted posing for pictures with Trump after the square outside the White House was cleared of protesters.
“I should not have been there,” said Milley.
– My presence there and then created the impression that the defense is involved in domestic politics, he said.
Trump and his entourage, which in addition to Milley also included Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, then walked to nearby St. John’s Church. There, the president posed with a Bible in his hand.