Mark Milley drafted resignation letter after crossing Lafayette Square with Donald Trump, book says


Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, vowed to “fight” the Trump administration “from the inside” after debating whether to resign after he was photographed marching alongside the president across Lafayette Square amid the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020.

Gen. Milley, who said he was duped into joining the president’s entourage, feared the image of him alongside the president blurred political lines that separate the military from the White House and accused President Trump of “doing great and irreparable harm” to the country.

“I believe that you have made a concerted effort over time to politicize the United States military,” Gen. Milley wrote in a draft resignation letter he intended to give to Mr. Trump as the firestorm caused by the photograph swept through Washington in the days after it was captured.

“I thought I could change that. I’ve come to the realization that I cannot, and I need to step aside and let somebody else try to do that,” he wrote.

The draft of Gen. Milley’s letter, which was never delivered to the president, was revealed Monday in the New Yorker, as part of a preview of Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker’s forthcoming book “The Divider.”

After wrestling with the decision, Gen. Milley eventually decided not to resign and vowed to “stop Trump from doing any more damage,” according to the authors.

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“If they want to court-martial me, or put me in prison, have at it,” Gen. Milley told his staff according to their account. “But I will fight from the inside.”

The account is the latest in a series of revelations exposing the bitter relationship between the former president and his top general that has played out in the press since Mr. Trump left office.

Last fall, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa revealed in their book “Peril” that Gen. Milley reassured his Chinese counterpart that Mr. Trump would not attack China and that the United States was in no danger of collapsing in the turbulent final months of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

The revelations angered some Republicans who said Gen. Milley overstepped his bounds.

Gen. Milley told defended the calls to a Senate panel after the details were revealed publicly saying they were part of his responsibility to “deconflict military actions, manage crisis and prevent war between great powers armed with nuclear weapons.”

He told lawmakers that intelligence officials had raised concerns that the “Chinese were worried about an attack by the U.S.”

“My task at that time was to de-escalate,” he said.


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