Tags: Donald Trump | George Floyd Protests | Law Enforcement | lafayette square | milley | esper | military

Trump: 'Fine' for Milley, Esper to Speak Out About Lafayette Square

esper in a navy blue suit and light blue shirt and milley in a military green uniform
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 12 June 2020 08:08 AM

Comments made by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper about their role in President Donald Trump's walk across Lafayette Square and his photograph at the historic St. John's Episcopal Church were "fine," President Donald Trump says in an interview airing Friday, while also pointing out his push to improve the military. 

"If that's the way they feel, I think that's fine," Trump told Fox News' Harris Faulkner, according to a clip shown on "Fox and Friends" from her interview with the president Thursday. 

The president also responded "no, I don't think so" when Faulkner asked him if he thought their comments about the event were "significant."

"I think it was a beautiful picture, and I think Christians think it was a beautiful picture," Trump said of the photograph of himself holding up a Bible. The picture was taken after peaceful protesters were forcefully removed from Lafayette Square to make way for him and several key members of his administration to walk through to the site, drawing widespread criticism. 

Milley Thursday, in a prerecorded video commencement address to National Defense University, apologized for being at Trump's side as he walked to the church, saying he "should not have been there."

Esper, meanwhile, said that he had not known that the walk was for the purpose of Trump's photo op and split from Trump on the issue of using active-duty troops against George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protesters. 

Trump told Faulkner that he has "good relationships with the military" after spending $2.5 trillion to rebuild it. He also pointed out the creation of the Space Force, "where the future is in space."

"When we took it over from President [Barack] Obama and [Vice President Joe] Biden, the military was a joke," he said. "The military was depleted. They had planes that were 50, 60 years old. They had old broken equipment. We had no ammunition. We had no ammunition. Now we have the greatest military we have ever had."

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Comments made by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper about their role in President Donald Trump's walk across Lafayette Square and his photograph at the historic St. John's Episcopal Church were "fine," President Donald Trump says in...
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Friday, 12 June 2020 08:08 AM
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