John Cusack has been highly active on social media since protests began breaking out in the wake of George Floyd’s death, even documenting his own experiences at a march in Chicago.
On Friday, the “Say Anything” star took to Twitter to share his thoughts on an unprecedented spate of retired military leaders rebuking President Donald Trump’s call to use the armed forces against protesters as unconstitutional.
“Trump is playing for an exit strategy – that keeps him from jail,” wrote the actor, noting that the “miltary [sic] has abandoned his fascism – all he’s got left is rascists [sic] – He wants something to leverage – to stay out of jail.”
Trump is playing for an exit strategy – that keeps him from jail- miltary has abandoned his fascism – all he’s got left is rascists-
He wants something to leverage – to stay out of jail –
— John Cusack (@johncusack) June 12, 2020
Cusack is apparently referencing a series of letters written by retired generals, including one from James Mattis, who resigned as the Trump administration’s Secretary of Defence in December 2018. In an open letter he wrote for The Atlantic, Mattis denounced the president, admitting he was “appalled” by Trump for “making a mockery of our Constitution.”
In addition, an extraordinary op-ed for The Washington Post was signed by 89 former defence officials, accusing Trump of betraying his oath of office “by threatening to order members of the U.S. military to violate the rights of their fellow Americans.”
Even General Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote an apology for appearing alongside Trump in his now-notorious Bible-holding photo op, in which tear gas and excessive force were used on peaceful protesters to clear a path for Trump to walk from the White House to a nearby church.
“I should not have been there,” Milley wrote in his letter. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”
According to analysts, these clearly coordinated messages from military leaders are a not-so-veiled signal to members of the U.S. armed forces to disobey orders issued by Trump if they are illegal or contrary to the Constitution, which restricts the use of military force against U.S. citizens.