Fox News contributor Guy Benson said on Thursday that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper gave an honest assessment on President Trump potentially using the U.S. military to quell rioting, however, many Americans support the commander-in-chief on the issue.
“A lot of Americans looking at their television screen for the last five or six nights are horrified by the violence in our streets, the burning of American cities and, at least one poll, [conducted by Morning Consult,] shows that a two-to-one margin are in favor of the idea [of deploying the military] if it becomes necessary,” Benson told "America's Newsroom."
Benson said that while Esper, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and several others have criticized Trump for signaling that he could invoke the Insurrection Act in order to send the U.S. military to quell violent protests, a majority of Americans side with Trump.
“I think we’re again seeing a disconnect between certain elites in society and the American people more broadly," said the host of "The Guy Benson Show" on Fox News Radio.
Benson reacted to Esper declaring Wednesday that despite Trump's remarks earlier this week, he was not in favor of such deployments to quell protests.
During a morning press briefing, Esper addressed controversies surrounding Trump's stance on violence and looting that has broken out across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, coinciding with other peaceful protests.
In some states, governors have called for the National Guard to assist police, which does not require the Insurrection Act. Esper said he was "very proud" of the National Guard members who have gone out to help.
But Trump has suggested going a step further.
"If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," he said Monday.
Esper already has ordered military police active-duty troops from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum and a ready battalion from the 82nd Airborne to stage in the Washington, D.C. area at Maryland's Andrews Air Force Base and Virginia's Fort Belvoir.
And Mattis is far from the only military figure to contradict Trump in recent days. John Allen, a former four-star Marine general and current president of the Brookings Institution, a D.C. think tank, wrote an op-ed for Foreign Policy Thursday morning excoriating Trump for his actions on Monday, which included a photo-op at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House.
Benson said Trump appears to be on the side of the "majority" of Americans, though more and more current and former officials are expressing a "sense of concern" about the military being used.