The nation’s top military officer on Wednesday refused to comment on reports he had been concerned about former President Trump staging a coup in the final year of his presidency.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley faced questions about the comments attributed to him in the newly published book “I Alone Can Fix It.”
The book alleges that Milley is reported to have compared Mr. Trump’s rhetoric of election fraud to Hitler, saying, “This is a Reichstag moment. The gospel of the Fuhrer.”
“I know there’s a lot of interest out there in all of these books that are out there quoting me and lots of others et cetera – I’m not going to comment on what’s in any of those books, but let me say just this, I always personally provided the best military professional advice to President Trump previously to President Biden or any other president,” Milley said Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (L) and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (R) participate in a news briefing at the Pentagon July 21, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Austin and Gen. Milley held a news briefing to discuss various topics including the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Alex Wong / Getty Images
Milley said he and the Joint Chiefs have committed to the tradition of an apolitical military, but at no point during the press conference did he deny having made the reported comments.
“He doesn’t have a political bone in his body,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said about Milley in their joint briefing with reporters on Wednesday.
“I Alone Can Fix It” also reports Milley had a conversation with Mr. Trump after Milley apologized publicly for walking across Lafayette Square with Mr. Trump in June 2020.
“Mr. President, this has nothing to do with you. This had to do with me and the uniform and not politicizing the uniform. I’m not apologizing for you. I was apologizing for me,” Milley said.
Austin on Wednesday said the Department is going to do everything it can to make sure the troops understand that the military is not part of the political apparatus.
Republican lawmakers have criticized the Pentagon for pushing critical race theory in seminars and teachings.
“Critical race theory is not something this Department teaches, professes, embraces,” Austin said, adding that even though teachers at military academies have included certain readings in their courses, that doesn’t mean the department embraces the theory.
He said the Pentagon will not be distracted by conversations around critical race theory and will remain focused on developing a diverse force that represents the country it serves.