Martin Dempsey, ex-Joint Chiefs chairman, worries about military’s relationship with the people

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” that he and his peers joined the military in the days immediately after the Vietnam War. It was a time when the military transitioned from a conscript to all-volunteer force.

“It took us a while to regain the trust of the Americans people,” Gen. Dempsey said. “Now we have a wonderful relationship with the people in this country.”

He had earlier criticized President Trump’s threat to use active duty military personnel to quell violent protests in Washington, D.C.

“The president has the authority to do a lot of things. He is given a lot of authority by our Constitution and the laws that interpret it,” Gen. Dempsey said.

But, given the state of unrest in the country following the outrage over the death of George Floyd involving Minneapolis police officers, Gen. Dempsey said he thought the president’s threats warranted his comment.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been criticized for being at the scene during President Trump’s controversial visit to St. John’s Church after it was damaged in a fire.

Gen. Dempsey said being included in a presidential “photo op” is always an awkward moment for a member of the military.

“It’s just something you have to be very careful about,” he told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

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