Donald Trump is 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. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.
In case you don’t remember General Mattis, he was the Marine general who resigned from his role as Secretary of Defense in 2018 due to Trump’s pullout of Northern Syria without any warning. He, like so many of us, are shocked to see our greatest fears about Trump’s antidemocratic tendencies come to fruition.
I’m hopeful that people like Mattis speaking out will give more oxygen to other Republican leaders who are looking for permission to speak out against the president. A statement like this is likely to make a dent in Trump’s support in Washington, the traditional conservative media, and possibly the armed forces. Will it affect normal folks who have seen everything that’s happened since 2017 and thinks “yeah, I’d like 4 more years of this”? Not so sure.