'I wish you the best': US military adviser resigns after Trump's controversial photo-op at church

The former principal deputy under secretary of defence for policy resigned, effective immediately, from the Defence Department’s science board.

James Miller’s reasoning centered around President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he posed with a Bible for photographs as protesters in the surrounding area were tear-gassed for the event.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper was also present during the visit.

“You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it,” Miller wrote in his resignation letter to Esper, which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Instead, you visibly supported it.”

A Department of Defence adviser resigned, effective immediately, from the military’s science board citing what he believed to be a violation of conduct from Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

In his resignation letter, James Miller Jr., the former under secretary of defence for policy from 2012 to 2014, recalled that he swore an oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States … and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same,” similar to what the defence secretary had done before he took office.

“On Monday, June 1, 2020, I believe that you violated that oath,” Miller wrote in his letter to Esper, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

Miller’s reasoning centered around President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, on Monday, where he posed with a Bible for photographs as protesters in the surrounding area were hit with smoke canisters and pepper balls at the event, according to the United States Park Police.

The trip was widely condemned by religious leaders, including Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who called it “baffling and reprehensible.”

Esper, along with US Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also present during the visit.

“Law-abiding protesters just outside the White House were dispersed using tear gas and rubber bullets – not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op,” Miller wrote. “You then accompanied President Trump in walking from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for that photo.”

“You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it,” Miller added. “Instead, you visibly supported it.”

In his letter, Miller also queried Esper on where he believed the Constitution’s limits were in relation to his duties.

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