Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright both argued Thursday that the country “is on fire” and criticized Defense Secretary Mark Esper for his opposition to invoking the Insurrection Act to help deal with riots that have swept across the country.
“If people like Mark Esper continue on this path, we will not like our military at all. We will be very afraid of them, and we don’t want to be,” Carlson warned viewers on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” after emphasizing the tradition of civilian control over the military.
Esper announced Wednesday at a news conference that he did not support President Donald Trump’s desire to use the United States military if necessary to restore order after riots and looting erupted across the country in response to the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. (RELATED: Defense Secretary Says He Didn’t Realize He’d Be Making St. John’s Visit Amid Protests)
Wright disagreed, saying, “What we have here I think more specifically is a secretary of defense who doesn’t get it. Right now, let’s just cut to the chase, Tucker. This country is on fire. We are facing an insurrection by people that we don’t quite understand who they are, but by all indications, they are violent, leftist thugs.”
Wright added that Esper and his military chiefs of staff “don’t seem to get” that the “nation is panicking” amid the riots and looting and that the public wants military protection. “58% of us want the military in our cities tonight,” he said.
The former CIA officer described the people instigating riots and looting as “Antifa … far leftists, Marxist-Leninist folks who have embraced that ideology” and compared them to the radical protesters of the 1960s. “They are back. They are back with firebombs. They’re back with bricks in our suburbs and our downtowns. That is something Mr. Esper clearly doesn’t understand.”
Wright also said much of the national media is “feeding this flame” with headlines like, “Peaceful protests are an important tool, but so is violence.” (RELATED: President Trump Walks Out Of White House, Holds Up Bible In Front Of St. John’s Church)
“If [Esper] doesn’t get it, doesn’t understand that the oath is to protect ourselves from threats, both foreign and domestic, by God, then get the hell out of the Pentagon and let somebody lead who gets it because that is the oath that he took,” Wright said.
President Donald Trump bluntly told governors during a Monday conference call that they needed to deploy the National Guard to “dominate” the streets and get ahead of the rioting and looting. The president said he is committed to using whatever federal assets he has control over, including active duty military members, to restore law and order.
“I am mobilizing all federal resources, civilian and military to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights,” Trump said during his Rose Garden address Monday.