Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Wednesday seemed to be at odds with President Donald Trump when it comes to invoking the Insurrection Act to quell protests over the killing of George Floyd.
Esper explained at a press conference that members of the National Guard had been deployed to keep order “in support of local law enforcement.”
“The option to use active duty forces should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” he explained. “We are not in one of those situations now.”
“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper insisted, referencing Trump’s threat to use the law against protesters.
The Defense secretary went on to admit that he “did know” that the president planned to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church Monday night when protesters were forcefully cleared from the streets.
Esper also claimed that guardsmen never used “tear gas” on peaceful demonstrators, although Park Police have admitted deploying chemical irritants.
Watch the video below from MSNBC.