The cadre of US generals and retired generals working under President Donald Trump should not resign as a wave of resignations hits the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack during a demo against white supremacy in Charlottesville, Virginia, says the former head of the Homeland Security (DHS).
Jeh Johnson, who ran the department under former President Barack Obama, made the comments on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and US Defense Secretary James Mattis are retired from the military while the president's national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, remains on active duty.
Since Trump took power, news of dismissals and resignations from the White House has become quite frequent.
“Frankly, if John Kelly, or my friend Jim Mattis, came to me and said I'm thinking about resigning from this White House, I'd say absolutely not. You have to stay,” Johnson said. “As John reportedly said, it's country first. And we need people like John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster to right the ship.”
Although military officials are not expected to hold civilian positions in the White House, Johnson stated that he is glad the generals have not quit yet.
The former DHS chief further commented on efforts to remove Confederate monuments from US cities, asserting that they would become “rallying points” for white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and supporters of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
“We fought a world war against Nazism. The KKK rained terror on African-Americans for generations,” he said. “And so a number of Americans, rightly, Republican and Democrat, are very concerned and very alarmed. And I salute those in cities and states who are taking down a lot of these monuments for reasons of public safety and security.”
The president has been under fire due to his failure to immediately condemn the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, in which a driver plowed into demonstrators protesting against white supremacists, killing a young woman and injuring nearly 20 others.
Instead, he has blamed both sides for the clashes that took place on August 13.
Trump has also faced a raft of resignations from his advisory councils and talks about resignation of other White House officials.