“I am not going to touch upon what’s in any of these books,” Milley stated throughout a press convention on the Pentagon the place he was repeatedly pressed on a myriad of claims about his relationship with the previous President.
Nonetheless, Milley did stress that he and the opposite high Pentagon leaders have all the time “maintained” their oaths to the Structure and to not any particular person, making clear that “the navy didn’t and won’t and mustn’t ever get entangled in home politics.”
“I would like you to know, and I would like everybody to know, I would like America to know, that the US navy is an apolitical establishment. We had been then; we at the moment are. And our oath is to the Structure, to not any particular person in any respect,” he stated.
“We do not arbitrate elections. That is the job of the judiciary and the legislature and the American folks. It isn’t the job of the US navy. We stayed out of politics. We’re an apolitical establishment,” Milley added.
The highest US common additionally reiterated that he has all the time offered one of the best navy recommendation to Trump and President Joe Biden. “I all the time personally supplied one of the best navy skilled recommendation to President Trump beforehand, to President Biden or every other president.”
Milley’s feedback come as he options prominently in a slew of scathing books launched this summer time detailing the ultimate months of Trump’s time in workplace.
Excerpts from these books have remodeled Milley’s picture from Trump’s hand-picked common — who accompanied the President to his notorious photo-op at St. John’s Church in the course of the George Floyd protests — to one of many former President’s harshest critics.
“This can be a Reichstag second,” Milley informed his aides, based on the e book. “The gospel of the Führer.”
These startling feedback had been solely the newest occasion the place Milley discovered himself in the midst of main political fights in each the Trump period and in the course of the fallout from the January 6 rebel.
One other e book by Wall Avenue Journal reporter Michael Bender says Milley repeatedly pushed again on Trump’s argument that the navy ought to intervene violently to be able to quell the civil unrest that erupted across the nation final 12 months and was the lone voice of opposition to these calls for throughout heated Oval Workplace discussions.
“Simply shoot them,” Trump stated on a number of events contained in the Oval Workplace, based on the excerpts.
When Milley and then-Legal professional Normal William Barr would push again, Trump toned it down, however solely barely, Bender provides.
Whereas Milley has sought to distance himself from politics, Wednesday’s press convention as soon as once more underscores how he and different high officers are nonetheless grappling with the fallout from Trump’s presidency months after he left workplace.
After the brand new revelations about Milley’s actions and views surrounding the January 6 rebel got here out earlier this month, Trump wasted little time earlier than trashing Milley in a prolonged assertion calling for him to be fired.
“I by no means threatened, or spoke about, to anybody, a coup of our Authorities,” Trump stated. “If I used to be going to do a coup, one of many final folks I’d wish to do it with is Normal Mark Milley.”
As was evident Wednesday, Milley doesn’t plan to publicly handle the problems raised within the e book, a protection official near him beforehand informed CNN.
The official acknowledged that in the course of the remaining weeks of the Trump administration, Milley engaged in actions and communications not a part of the normal portfolio of a Joint Chiefs chairman, carrying a heavier political load to maintain Trump in examine. Whereas Milley “tried his hardest to actively keep out of politics,” the official stated, if the occasions that occurred introduced him into that area quickly, “so be it.”
“He is not going to sit down in silence whereas folks attempt to use the navy in opposition to People,” the official stated.
Standing alongside Milley on Wednesday, Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin defended the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, telling reporters, “He would not have a political bone in his physique.”
“I’ve recognized the chairman for a very long time. We have fought collectively. We have served a few occasions in the identical unit. So I am not guessing at his character,” Austin stated. “And I feel, I clearly have large religion and confidence within the chairman.”
“It is actually necessary to me that this division stay apolitical. And so we’ll do every little thing inside our energy to guarantee that our troops, our management, each civilian and navy, stay centered on the duty at hand, and perceive that they are not part of the political equipment right here,” Austin added.