As President Donald Trump’s administration weighed responses to nationwide riots last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley reportedly told Trump advisor Stephen Miller to “shut the fuck up” after Miller compared the riots to scenes from a warzone, a new book excerpt revealed last week.
According to an excerpt from Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender’s forthcoming book “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” reported by CNN, Miller said during an Oval Office meeting that the riots reminded him of scenes from a warzone and said “those cities are burning.”
According to Bender’s book it was after these comments by Miller that the top U.S. military officer turned in his seat in the Oval Office and “Shut the fuck up, Stephen.”
On Monday, a spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs public affairs office declined an American Military News request for comment about the alleged exchange.
It is unclear from the excerpt reported by CNN, when exactly Milley made this comment to Miller. Within days of Floyd’s death, rioters set fire to a Minneapolis Police Department precinct and to several businesses in the surrounding area.
As protests over Floyd’s death spread throughout the country last summer, so too did rioting and other attacks against police and federal officers. In other cities, rioters threw explosive and incendiary cocktails at police stations, detention centers and courthouses. In June an Air Force reservist was arrested after a deadly ambush attack against police with explosives and small arms fire.
Within the first week of widespread civil unrest, Trump began looking at military options for how to respond to rioting and on June 1, 2020 called on states to activate their National Guards and have law enforcement “defend the life and property of their residents” and warned states that did not respond to riots with law and order that he would deploy the U.S. military instead.
Bender’s book further claims Milley considered the protests and riots throughout the country to be primarily a political matter rather than a military one and that Milley tried to get as close to Trump as possible to dissuade him from invoking the Insurrection Act to the activate federalized troops in response to the riots.
The revelations about Milley’s reported role in setting the Trump administration’s response to the rioting came on the same week that Milley characterized the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol as an attempt to “overturn the Constitution of the United States of America” and embraced the U.S. military adopting controversial critical race theory training during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Bender’s book is set to be released in July.