One of the most alarming aspects of the present fevers is the utterance of total untruths by notables in high places. Do they not know what the truth is? Or do they not care about the truth. Do they believe their notoriety will overcome a totally erroneous statement?
For instance, consider Gen. James Mattis’ statement in The Atlantic that is highly misleading. History is clear. Past presidents have used the military repeatedly in states with or without a governor’s invitation. To deny it is an example of what President Trump has called “fake news.”
Has Gen. Mattis never heard of President George H.W. Bush in 1992 sending in troops to put down the Los Angeles riots? How about President Lyndon Johnson? Did Gen. Mattis ever hear of LBJ sending troops to Washington to the put down the riots there after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.? What about John F. Kennedy? Did Gen. Mattis never hear of JFK sending out troops to quell riots in Birmingham, Alabama, or at the University of Mississippi or when the bigot, George Wallace, blocked the schoolhouse door. And what about President Eisenhower. Did he not dispatch troops to Little Rock, Arkansas? Or was it someone else?
Where has Gen. Mattis been on all these occasions? Or how about when a president calls out his military to put down insurrection by veterans. I remember hearing of President Herbert Hoover calling upon Gen. Douglas MacArthur to put down the Bonus Marchers. It happened in 1932. Does Gen. Mattis or any of the other great minds filling the television screens and newsprints nowadays remember the Bonus Marchers?
Donald Trump was almost 22 years old in 1968, when the last round of national rioting engulfed America. My guess is that young Donald was watching television news at some point when a truly inspiring moment was captured on the screen. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, Tenneesee, on April 4, and cities were burning across America. I certainly remember the inspiring moment. Though the inspiration did not come from a Republican.
Bob Kennedy, who was running for the Democratic nomination for the presidency took time off from his campaign to fly to Washington to walk the smoldering streets and instill calm. I have a picture of him I believe at the corner of 14th and U Streets in Northwest. No one called it a “photo-op.” Yet, it probably served that purpose also. Eight weeks later Bob Kennedy too was shot dead.
Is it possible that on May 31, when President Trump saw the historic church across the street from Lafayette Park, St. John’s Episcopal, afire he thought of the example set by Bob Kennedy so many years ago? He decided to walk over and stand by the church to change the tone of the angry crowd.
I saw from my television set water bottles being launched from the remnants of the angry crowd. His act could not be seen by any fair-minded observer as anything but an act of peace. Could it? Once the crowd had been cleared the president came to the church. He carried a Bible. Who taunts with a Bible?
And yet these last few lines will seem laughable to the “peaceful demonstrators” if ever they take the time to read them. That is how bad it has gotten. We are living in dreadful times. Nothing I can think of can be done by Donald Trump to calm the angry mob.
Take a page from Bob Kennedy’s playbook, and it is called a “photo-op.” Walk across Lafayette Park to church and it is called aggressive behavior — even by the sainted bishop Mariann Edgar Budde. Even if the president called a summit with all the players involved, he could not get peace. All he can do is the unthinkable, step down, and then the Democrats would probably proceed with indictments. Who knows, they might be preparing indictments at this very hour. Nothing like this has ever occurred in our history.
Yet, based on the revelations of month’s Justice Department documents, it appears that the war against President Trump began even before his election. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein revealed enough in testimony last week to suggest that the intelligence community was out to get Mr. Trump before Hillary had even lost to him. Who were they working for? Was it Hillary herself? I am counting on Attorney General Bill Barr to supply the answers.
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He also is the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.
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