K-State president Richard Myers on Thursday evening issued a rare rebuke of U.S. president Donald Trump, saying he was saddened by the way law enforcement used force to clear protesters for Trump to make a public appearance Monday.
Speaking on CNN with anchor Erin Burnett, Myers, a retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was “not right” that federal agents broke apart a peaceful protest around Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening.
After speaking from the White House and declaring that he would take action to stop “professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa, and others” who are protesting George Floyd’s death and police brutality, Trump then walked to the square and stood in front St. John’s Episcopal Church and held up a bible, in which critics have called an unnecessary photo op.
Myers, who served as chairman under president George W. Bush, said he was saddened by the action.
“The first thing was absolute sadness that people are not allowed to protest, and as I understand it, that was a peaceful protest that was disturbed by force,” he said on national television. “That’s not right. That should not happen in America, and so I was sad. I mean, we should all shed tears over that particular act.”
Since becoming K-State president in 2016, Myers has rarely commented on national or political matters. He joins several other high-ranking former military officials — including Gen. John Mattis, who resigned as Trump’s Secretary of Defense after disagreeing with the president’s Syria policy — in criticizing Trump’s actions in response to national protests.
“The other thing I thought, and this is probably very selfish, I said, I’m glad I don’t have to advise this president,” Myers said.