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Ex-Joint Chiefs chair: Deploying military domestically would negatively affect relationship with American people

Ex-Joint Chiefs chair: Deploying military domestically would negatively affect relationship with American people
© Greg Nash

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said Sunday that deploying the military domestically to respond to the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death would negatively affect its relationship with the American people. 

Dempsey told ABC’s “This Week” that he decided to speak up against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE’s threats to send out the military because he thought “it was appropriate for me to point out the risk of doing it.” 

“I thought that given the state of the unrest and the risk that we would put the active duty military in a position where its relationship with the American people would be adversely affected that I should say so,” he said.

Dempsey pointed out it took decades to try to “rebuild” the military’s relationship with the American people after the Vietnam War. 

“It took us a while to actually regain the trust of the American people,” he said, adding, “And we have a wonderful relationship with the people in this country, and I thought it important to continue to work to try to keep that.” 

The former Joint Chiefs chairman joined with other retired generals who have slammed Trump for threatening to deploy the military to quell the protests that have raged across the U.S. for more than a week.

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“The idea that the military would be called in to dominate and to suppress what, for the most part, were peaceful protests — admittedly, where some had opportunistically turned them violent — and that the military would somehow come in and calm that situation was very dangerous to me,” he told NPR Thursday

Last week, Trump announced he would activate the military to respond to demonstrations in Washington, D.C. He also encouraged governors across the country to send their National Guards, threatening to deploy the military to other cities if they did not. 

Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, sparking protests across the country against police brutality and racial inequality.