Former President Donald Trump has issued a scathing rebuke of US General Mark Milley, after book excerpts revealed Milley had allegedly compared Trump’s supporters to Nazis and planned to resist a hypothetical “coup” by Trump.
Excerpts from an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker describe how, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, as Trump disputed Joe Biden’s victory, Milley, the nation’s highest military officer, summoned the rest of the Pentagon’s top brass to discuss the possibility of Trump attempting to use them in a “coup” attempt to stay in power.
Milley, according to the excerpts seen by CNN, drew on numerous World War II cliches, comparing Trump’s rhetoric of a ‘rigged’ election to “the gospel of the Fuhrer,” his supporters to the Nazi “brownshirts,” and Trump himself as “the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose.”
As Milley and his deputies discussed the possibility of Trump’s supporters directly attacking Washington DC, he flexed his military muscles. “They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” he reportedly said. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”
Trump issued a lengthy response on Thursday. “I never threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government,” the former president said in a press release. “So ridiculous! 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.”
Trump releases statement on General Milley: pic.twitter.com/ddP59I8hrc
To right-wing commenters, Milley’s comparisons of their movement to Nazism and “we’re the guys with the guns” bluster, was taken as proof that the military, long seen as a bastion of conservatism, is not on their side, and views them as enemies.
The subtext here is that General Milley would have ordered demonstrators to be shot if he felt the threat warranted it. https://t.co/GDVjFdXqnG
@SecDef so disappointed in in Milley and others at the top. Our military believes the 1/2 of the country that is most loyal to it and the constitution are the enemy. Our own military is helping to destroy the country. https://t.co/prSD5LLCKk
Imagine the indignity of actually having to salute to “General” Mark Milley
Maybe, for the sake of social cohesion, the top military man in the country shouldn’t be, essentially, encouraging a war of annihilation against half the citizens of his country. Maybe I’m old fashioned and don’t like civil wars.
Trump’s statement went on to list more of the former president’s grievances with Milley, beginning with a typically Trumpian explanation for how the general got his job:
“He got his job only because the world’s most overrated general, James Mattis, could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him,” Trump explained, referring to his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “To me the fact that Mattis didn’t like him, just like Obama didn’t like him and actually fired Milley, was a good thing, not a bad thing. I often act counter to people’s advice who I don’t respect.”
Trump went on to accuse Milley of choking “like a dog in front of the fake news” after appearing in front of a burned church with Trump during Black Lives Matter riots last summer, and of advocating for renaming military bases bearing the names of Confederate leaders, something Trump opposed.
Milley’s alleged Nazi comparisons aren’t the first statements from the general to anger the MAGA crowd. Last month he told lawmakers during a budget hearing that he read ‘Critical Race Theory’ to better “understand [the] white rage” behind the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill in January, prompting an outcry from conservatives.
In his statement on Thursday, Trump waved away the notion that Milley is actually “woke.”
“The way I look at Milley, he’s just a better politician than a general, trying to curry favor with the Radical Left and the absolute crazy people espousing a philosophy which will destroy our Country!” Trump concluded.
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