The former president’s statement came after excerpts published this week from a forthcoming book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker said Milley compared Trump’s false election claims to 2020 to the “Gospel of the Führer”.
According to Leonnig and Rucker’s reporting, Milley described Trump’s persistent efforts to reverse the White House race results as “a Reichstag moment” – referring to the 1933 attack on the German parliament building that ‘Adolf Hitler used it as a pretext to cement the Nazi regime.
The book also states that Milley was so alarmed by Trump’s attempt to annul the election that he and other military leaders began to informally plan how they would prevent the then president from using the US military. in a way that might help him retain power.
Trump on Thursday lashed out at Milley over the new reports, saying he appointed the four-star Army General as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 2018 “only because the world’s most overrated general, James Mattis , couldn’t stand it, had no respect for it, and I wouldn’t recommend it.
“For me,” Trump said, “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 against the advice of people I don’t respect.
Trump’s statement that former President Barack Obama sacked Milley is incorrect. It was Mattis that Obama sacked as head of the US central command in 2013, in large part because of Mattis’ increasingly hawkish stance towards Iran.
Mattis went on to serve as Trump’s first defense secretary, but resigned from the administration in 2018 to protest the president’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria. Mattis initially refrained from criticizing Trump after leaving the Pentagon, but ultimately accused him of seeking to “divide” Americans and said the January 6 insurgency “was instigated by Mr. Trump” .
Trump’s statement about Milley on Thursday marked the second public coup the former president took to the country’s top military officer in recent weeks. Last month, Trump called on Milley to step down after reports surfaced that the two had argued last summer in the Situation Room over Trump’s plan to deal with Americans protesting the racial injustice and police brutality.
Milley has also become a frequent target of criticism from conservative commentators and Republican congressional lawmakers who were angered by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs’ testimony on Capitol Hill last month regarding the Pentagon’s efforts to combat racism and extremism in the ranks.