Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven said Friday that the use of federal law enforcement officials to forcefully clear peaceful protesters from a Washington, D.C., square earlier this week was "not morally right."
Aggressive tactics were used to clear demonstrators against police brutality from Lafayette Square Monday evening just minutes before President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE walked through the area for a photo-op at a local church.
"You’re not gonna use, whether it’s the military or the National Guard or law enforcement, to clear peaceful American citizens for the president of the U.S. to do a photo-op,” McRaven, who oversaw the team that killed terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, said in an interview with MSNBC that came the day before D-Day on June 6.
“There is nothing morally right about that,” McRaven, who has been critical of the president in the past, added.
Demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody last week, have been held across the country as activists ask for accountability in law enforcement.
The president has warned that he is willing to use the Insurrection Act to deploy military troops to cities seeing unrest.
His calls have drawn criticism from Democrats as well as some GOP lawmakers and former Trump administration officials including former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and former chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.
Mattis on Wednesday issued a blistering statement in The Atlantic, saying Trump was "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."
Republican Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (Alaska) said that she agreed with Mattis, adding that she is "struggling" with deciding if she will vote for Trump in November.
In response to Murkowski's wavering support, Trump tweeted that he would campaign against her when she's up for reelection in 2022.