General Mark Milley Vowed to 'Fight' Trump 'From the Inside' in 2020: Report
The United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was supposed to be working for President Donald Trump. Instead, a new report suggested he was intentionally trying to undermine the president.
The New Yorker published an excerpt from the new book “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” an anti-Trump book from husband and wife reporters Susan Glasser and Peter Baker.
In the excerpt, the authors claimed Trump’s now infamous photo in Washington, D.C’s Lafayette Square almost caused Milley to resign.
“In the morning before the Lafayette Square photo op, Trump had clashed with Milley, Attorney General William Barr and the Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, over his demands for a militarized show of force,” the authors wrote.
They said Trump wanted 10,000 troops in the streets and asked Milley if he could “just shoot [the rioters] in the legs or something.”
While Trump has previously been accused of ordering government officials to clear Lafayette Square, so he could take a picture in front of a burned church, that story has been debunked.
According to the New York Post, U.S. Park Police said they cleared the area because rioters attacked them while they were trying to erect a fence, not because Trump wanted a photo.
Park Police acting Chief Gregory Monahan also denied using tear gas at the time, which was another accusation being thrown around. Glasser and Baker ignored this fact in their book.
“As they walked, with the scent of tear gas still in the air, Milley realized that he should not be there and made his exit, quietly peeling off to his waiting black Chevy Suburban,” the authors claimed. “But the damage was done.
“No one would care or even remember that he was not present when Trump held up a Bible in front of the damaged church; people had already seen him striding with the President on live television in his battle dress, an image that seemed to signal that the United States under Trump was, finally, a nation at war with itself.”
Following the Lafayette Square photo, Milley was planning to resign from his position, the authors said.
Glasser and Baker said Milley even drafted a letter of resignation that accused Trump of “doing great and irreparable harm to my country.”
“I believe that you have made a concerted effort over time to politicize the United States military,” the letter reportedly said. “I thought that I could change that. I’ve come to the realization that I cannot, and I need to step aside and let someone else try to do that.”
The letter also accused Trump of “using the military to create fear in the minds of the people,” being a racist and “ruining the international order.”
According to authors, Milley eventually decided not to send the letter. He instead solicited advice from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who reportedly told him not to resign.
“If you resign, it’s a one-day story,” Gates supposedly told Milley and other Trump staffers who asked for his advice. “If you’re fired, it makes it clear you were standing up for the right thing.”
In an address at the National Defense University during the week after the photo op, Milley apologized for participating in the march at Lafayette Square. As he did so, he had made a decision about his employment, the authors said.
“He would not quit,” Glasser and Baker wrote. “’F*** that s***,’ he told his staff. ‘I’ll just fight him.’ The challenge, as he saw it, was to stop Trump from doing any more damage, while also acting in a way that was consistent with his obligation to carry out the orders of his Commander-in-Chief.
“Yet the Constitution offered no practical guide for a general faced with a rogue President. Never before since the position had been created, in 1949 — or at least since Richard Nixon’s final days, in 1974 — had a chairman of the Joint Chiefs encountered such a situation. ‘If they want to court-martial me, or put me in prison, have at it,’ Milley told his staff. ‘But I will fight from the inside.’”
If the authors are correct about the timing, this decision came in early June 2020. That would mean for the final six-plus months of Trump’s presidency, Milley was actively working to undermine Trump because of his own qualms with the president.
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