Gen Mark Milley dodged questions on Wednesday about his fears that President Trump would launch a coup, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff faced reporters for the first time since revelations that he considered ways to resist any armed efforts to stay in power.
Instead he insisted the U.S. armed forces were an ‘apolitical institution’ and that it was up to the American people, the judiciary and the legislature to decide who held power.
A Pentagon press conference about Afghanistan was overshadowed by the publication a day earlier of ‘I Alone Can Fix It’ by two Washington Post reporters revealed Milley feared Trump might be following Adolf Hitler’s playbook in seizing power.
It is just one of several accounts revealing how military leaders considered heading off the president if he tried to use U.S. troops to retain power.
Milley said he would not be commenting on any books.
‘But I want you to know and I want everyone to know, I want America to know, that the United States military is an apolitical institution. We were then and we are now,’ he said.
Gen Mark Milley hit back at criticism from conservatives, insisting that the U.S. military would ‘never get involved in domestic politics.’ He has come under fire amid claims that he and senior generals considered how to prevent Trump seizing power in a coup
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended Milley at the briefing, insisting he had ‘faith and confidence’ in the Joint Chiefs chairman
Milley and Trump in happier times, after the former president delivered the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 4 2020. Trump has since said that if he were to launch a coup he would not have done it with Milley
The claims were made in a book published this week titled I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year
‘And our our oath is to the Constitution, not to any individual at all, And the military did not and will not and should not ever get involved in domestic politics.’
‘We don’t arbitrate elections, that’s the job of the judiciary and the legislature and the American people is not the job of the US military.’
‘I Alone Can Fix It’ reveals how Milley watched the events of Jan. 6 unfold on TV. He saw Trump take the stage and deliver a speech, in which he saw parallels in his claims of election fraud with Hitler’s mix of victimhood and
‘This is a Reichstag moment,’ he reportedly told aides, referring to how Hitler’s rise was cemented by the burning of Germany’s parliament building. ‘The gospel of the Führer.’
Such was his concern that he and other senior officers strategized about how to stop him, including a plan to resign one by one.
Another account, published by the New Yorker, suggested Milley was worried Trump would initiate a war against Iran as a pretext to stay in power.
As a result, conservatives including Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson, have demanded that Miller be removed from his post as the country’s most senior general.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended Milley at the briefing, insisting he had ‘faith and confidence’ in the Joint Chiefs chairman.
‘I’ve known the chairman for a long time. We’ve fought together. We’ve served a couple of times in the same units,’ he said.
‘I’m not guessing at his character. He doesn’t have a political bone in his body.’
Milley has also been under fire for comments he made in front of a House committee last month when he said he wanted to understand ‘white rage,’ and what made a mostly white, male mob overrun the U.S. Capitol Building.
The briefing was intended to deliver an update as the U.S. military approaches the end of its in mission in Afghanistan, but the publication of fresh accounts of Trump’s last days in power dominated a question and answer session
‘I’m not going to address specifically white rage or black rage, or Asian rage or Irish rage or English rage, German rage or any other rage, right?
‘The events of the sixth of January happened, he said.
‘Those are all going to get sorted out. Historians will sort it out. Commissions will sort it out.
‘But I do think it’s important that we as a professional military, not only understand foreign countries and foreign cultures and foreign societies – that’s important that we do that – but we also need to understand our own society and understand the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and the society they’re coming from.’
For his part, Trump denied ever plotting a coup and launched an attack on Milley, saying he was the last person he would ever want as part of a takeover plot.
‘So ridiculous,’ he said.
‘Sorry to inform you, but an election is my form of “coup,” and if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley.’