Trump’s Defense Secretary Chris Miller says the main goals in the final days of the administration were to avoid ‘major war, a military coup, and Army soldiers on US streets’
- Chris Miller was appointed acting Defense Secretary on Nov. 9
- He told associates he had three priorities for his time in office
- He wanted to avoid a major war, a military coup, and troops on the streets fighting civilians
- Last week he defended his actions when protesters attacked the U.S. Capitol
- He said he did not want to deploy troops in advance for fear it would excite fears of a coup
Donald Trump’s Defense Secretary Chris Miller had three goals during the final days of the administration: Avoiding a major war, avoiding a military coup, and avoiding sending troops to do battle with citizens on American streets.
His comments offer an extraordinary insight into the thinking of senior officials around Trump as he tried to cling to power.
A new report reveals how in the weeks after Trump’s election defeat, while he refused to accept the outcome at the polls, he tried to use loyalists to push through a withdrawal troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, Germany and Africa.
But senior military figures, members of Trump’s national security team and acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller feared it would blindside allies and risk a dangerous situation for the incoming Biden administration, according to Axios.
Chris Miller was appointed acting Defense Secretary by President Trump on November 9 and said his three priorities were avoiding a major war, a military coup and American troops fighting citizens on the street
Trump’s plan to withdraw troops completely from Afghanistan before leaving office was opposed by Miller and other senior officials who succeeded in persuading the president to keep to a plan to draw down the number to 2500
It was part of what Miller, a U.S. Army veteran who was only installed after Trump’s election defeat, saw as his duty.
‘Miller told associates he had three goals for the final weeks of the Trump administration: Number one, no major war; number two, no military coup; number three, no troops fighting citizens on the streets,’ reported Axios.
It echoes remarks Miller made to a Vanity Fair reporter.
‘The “no troops in the street” thing changed dramatically about 14:30…. So that one’s off,’ he said, referring to the deployment of National Guard soldiers as protesters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.
However, he had a hand in averting plans to bring all troops home from Afghanistan.
He, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark Milley persuaded Trump to stick with an earlier plan to draw down to 2500 troops in Afghanistan rather than making an overhasty total withdrawal.
Miller was appointed in an acting capacity on Nov. 9 after his predecessor was fired by tweet.
‘That one’s off,’ said Miller of his aim to avoid the sight of soldiers battling citizens in the streets, after National Guard troops were deployed to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6
Mark Esper had fallen from favor amid the Black Lives Matter protests that rocked the country last year.
He resisted plans to invoke the Insurrection Act to put down riots with active-duty soldiers.
However, Miller testified last week that he was also reluctant to deploy armed forces to quell violence at home – in this case defending his decision not to send troops to protect the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 before they stormed the building.
‘My concerns regarding the appropriate and limited use of the military in domestic matters were heightened by commentary in the media about the possibility of a military coup or that advisors to the President were advocating the declaration of martial law,’ he said in written testimony the House Oversight Committee which is investigating security failings.
In the aftermath of the attack, Miller blamed Trump for inciting the crowd.
But last week he suggested elements in the mob arrived already planning to attack the Capitol.
‘It seems clear there was an organized assault element in place that was going to assault regardless of what the president said,’ he said.