Traitor or Patriot: New revelations about actions taken by General Milley—the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—to limit Trumps power have been met with both praise and criticism. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. Photo Credit: DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando, CC 2.0
Top Story: Traitor or Patriot
Next Tuesday, September 21, publishing giant Simon & Schuster will release Peril, a political exposé written by investigative journalist Bob Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa. The book will highlight “The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr.,” according to the online description, and how it “stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history.” Ahead of its release, some of the book’s contents were provided to—wait for it—The Washington Post. On Tuesday, the DC-based publication reported that Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, phoned his Chinese counterpart twice over concerns then-President Donald Trump could spark a war with China. Per additional reporting from CNN—which was also given a preview of the book—Milley “single-handedly took secret action to limit Trump from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike or launching nuclear weapons.” Here’s what both sides are saying about the book, the preview-reporting, and Mark Milley:
On The Right
Right-leaning outlets, commentators, and politicians believe Milley’s actions were nothing short of treasonous. They call for his immediate dismissal, not only based upon this, but also for his role in the fall of Afghanistan.
“Mark Milley committed treason, and others were implicated” Tucker Carlson, Fox News: “There’s something about the term ‘deep state’ that sounds paranoid, even nutty. … The term, then and now, suggests that our democracy is fake. … If you’re a normal person who grew up here, it’s the last thing you want to believe about your country. It seems crazy. And then you read stories like this one. … According to [Woodward and Costa’s] account, our country’s top defense official secretly colluded with our chief military rival to undercut the elected president of the United States. How do you describe this? ‘Deep state’ isn’t strong enough. It’s treason. It’s a crime. And apparently, Mark Milley isn’t the only person implicated in it. Others knew it was happening. Our intelligence agencies almost certainly heard Mark Milley’s call. … If this is true, this is one of the scariest things that has happened in this country. To those who say they’re worried about authoritarianism coming in America, well, it’s here. That’s what this is. Authoritarian government. Government by unelected, unaccountable leaders willing to use violence to preserve their rule. That’s what this book describes.”
“Mark Milley must go” Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner: “Former President Donald Trump’s actions after losing the 2020 election defied any sense of presidential decorum or decency. They cost the GOP control of the Senate and encouraged a violent mob to storm the Capitol and ‘stop the steal.’ … But none of Trump’s actions justified top military adviser Mark Milley allegedly promising the People’s Liberation Army’s general that he would warn him if Trump [decided] to launch an attack. … At best, the combined reports paint a picture of an unelected bureaucrat every bit as authoritarian as the president he claimed to fear. At worst, Milley seems to have toyed with treason, promising to protect a hostile foreign adversary in the case that a legitimately elected commander in chief, however wrongly intentioned, exercised his military authority. … Biden had reasons enough to oust Milley after the fall of Kabul. Now all of Washington, DC, has a political excuse to do so.”
“The Treacherous Depths Of Mark Milley” Scott McKay, American Spectator: “Again and again there is evidence that we aren’t a constitutional republic at all but a kakistocracy, a beleaguered nation ruled by its most ruthless, clueless, classless, and worthless. It’s painful, because this isn’t our tradition and it’s not what made us. Something has gone wrong, and we’ve got to find out where and when it happened and reset to a time before then to fix it. … Milley, who chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is worse than all of them, and worse than that, the mindless goons who populate the legacy media newsrooms are lauding him for his misdeeds. … Milley had an option he could pursue if he truly believed what he said, which was that he could have resigned. He could have told the American people in his resignation letter that he didn’t believe Trump was sane and that he couldn’t in good conscience follow orders from him. … But he didn’t do that. Instead, Milley instigated a military coup against the president of the United States. This after he was secretly conducting foreign policy and giving assurances to our most dangerous international adversary that America would not act against them. … Our constitutional system cannot survive the treachery of men like Mark Milley. He has to be removed from his position.”
On The Left
Left-leaning outlets and commentators are thankful Mark Milley took precautions against whom they deem an unhinged Commander in Chief. They say Trump’s claims of election fraud and the events of January 6th should be more than enough to support Milley’s actions.
“Milley acted to prevent Trump from creating a disaster. But don’t expect future generals to save us.” Max Boot, Washington Post: “Milley should be commended for acting to limit an unhinged commander in chief’s ability to overthrow the government or start a war. … Milley had no choice but to do what he did, but his actions will further enrage the right and widen the divide between the military and the Republican Party. … There is, alas, no shortage of right-wing extremists in the military. … There is absolutely nothing stopping Trump or some other future Republican president from appointing someone with far-right views … In other words, we cannot count on future generals resisting a power-mad, would-be authoritarian in the Oval Office as Milley did. … It is imperative for Congress to pass some such limitations on the president’s nuclear-use authority before another unhinged president takes office. We suffered badly enough under Trump; 400,000 Americans died of COVID-19 while he was in office and insurrectionists invaded the US Capitol. Yet it could have been far worse — and could still be in the future if we don’t act today.”
“Did Milley Think Trump Would Go Berserk?” Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo: “[Milley’s] communications with the chief of the People’s Liberation Army are certainly noteworthy. But military chiefs talk to each other, often in just such cases, to avoid misunderstandings. But there’s nothing inherently improper about them. Certainly nothing unconstitutional. … Yes, what Milley did was highly irregular and in the case of nuclear weapons even questionable. But that’s mainly if you’re kind of pretending that we didn’t just have a President lose an election and then try to launch a coup to remain in power. And when that didn’t work he roused up a mob of violent supporters who stormed the seat of government with the intention of overthrowing the results of the election by force. … The instigator remains head of his political party. It’s treated as a given that he will be their candidate for President in 2024 if he chooses to run again. … Milley’s actions are mostly shocking because our political culture is committed to pretending the events [on January 6th] never happened.”
“No, General Milley, President Trump Wasn’t Losing It” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg Opinion: “… here’s the thing: Trump was the same guy before and after the 2020 presidential election and on Jan. 6 that he was when he was elected in 2016. He’s the same guy he was decades before that, too. Love him or hate him, Trump is consistent and has stayed true to form for most of his 75 years. It’s that authenticity that endears him to his supporters. … Did Trump suddenly go into a psychological slide in 2020 that made him more dangerous than before? No. It was obvious to anyone watching closely that he would rather burn down the house after the 2020 presidential election than acknowledge defeat. … It’s utterly predictable, because he doesn’t change. … The risks that the country, the rule of law, and our institutions still confront stems from that reality. The Republican Party continues to embrace and foment Trumpism. Much could still go wrong. And we can’t rely on military leaders going rogue to protect us from rogue presidents. … I’m glad Milley took the steps he did, and I honor his military service. But the fact that he had to maneuver around Trump demonstrates how broken things are. Milley is a sophisticated and dedicated public servant, and he was well aware how his actions would appear.”
Flag This: Traitor or Patriot
Bob Woodward’s trilogy of Trump books will come to an end with Peril. He published Fear in 2018 and Rage in 2020, which sold more than 1 million and 600,000 copies in their first week, respectively.
Flag This: Around this time last year, it was reported that on average, approximately one book about Trump and his inner circle had been released every single day over the past 188-week period. According to WNYC Studios, more than 1,200 books have in fact been published about the Trump presidency.
Flag Poll: Traitor or Patriot
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