Leaders echo ex-defense secretary’s condemnation of Trump

Retired Gen. Jim Mattis said Trump was “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – instead tries to divide us.”
3:00 | 06/04/20

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Transcript for Leaders echo ex-defense secretary’s condemnation of Trump
Now, to president trump tonight, and the fallout after his threat to use the U.S. Military on American civilians. Just 24 hours after former defense secretary Jim Mattis issued that rare and scathing rebuke, tonight, Alaska senator Lisa murkowski, a Republican, saying she agrees with Mattis and that she's now struggling over whether to support the president's re-election, suggesting that perhaps some of her fellow Republicans will feel more comfortable now to speak out, too. Here's Jonathan Karl. Reporter: Outside the white house, new fences, higher barriers, pushing the public back, further separating the president from the world outside. He has been out of sight for two days, communicating through his digital megaphone, Twitter. More than 75 tweets since midnight, many of them slogans, "Make America great again," "Lau W and order." Outside, the protests persisting. Inside the capitol building, democratic senators joining together in silence, some taking a knee, for 8:46 in honor of George Floyd. As the stunning condemnation of president trump by his former defense secretary, retired general Jim Mattis, reverberates throughout the city. "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people. Does not even pretend to try," Mattis wrote. "Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership." Mattis expressed outrage at the forceful removal of peaceful protesters to make room for what he called "A bizarre photo-op." Mattis' words prompted a forceful response from Republican senator Lisa murkowski. I was really thankful. I thought general Mattis' words were true and honest and necessary and overdue. Reporter: And she offered a pointed message to her fellow Republicans, telling them, it is time to speak up. One of the few who did was senator Mitt Romney. General Mattis' letter was stunning and powerful. General Mattis is a man of extraordinary sacrifice, he's an American patriot. Reporter: Senator Lindsey graham was among those who spoke in support of the president. I'm not saying he's blameless, but I am saying you're buying into a narrative that I think is, quite frankly, unfair. Reporter: President hit back at Mattis on Twitter, calling him "The world's most overrated general," adding, "I didn't like his leadership style or much else about him and many others agree. Glad he is gone." Mattis may be gone, but he's not alone in expressing his support for the protesters. On that point, he joins all four living former presidents. Both the first lady and the vice president tweeted today about the memorial service for George Floyd, expressing their sympathies for his family, but the president, those 75 tweets today, not a single mention of George Floyd, David.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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