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Trump calls Joint Chiefs chairman Milley ‘pathetic’ for defending critical race theory in the US military

Then-President Donald Trump speaks at an Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harvey)
June 28, 2021

During a Friday interview with Newsmax, former President Donald Trump said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s defense of teaching critical race theory within the U.S. military was “pathetic” and that if Milley had offered those remarks while he was still president he would have fired the general immediately.

Calling in by phone with Newsmax’s Wake Up America, Trump said, “Gen. Milley, I watched his statement (and) it was pathetic.” Trump’s comments referred to comments Milley made before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, in which he said the teaching of critical race theory is important to the U.S. military.

Trump also referred to similar remarks made by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adml. Mike Gilday, who defended the inclusion of a racially charged book on the Navy’s official reading list and said critics of the book’s inclusion were “trying to paint the United States military, and the United States Navy as weak, as woke.”

Trump continued, “I watched the statements of some others, your head of the Navy. It was pathetic.”

“They didn’t talk that way when I was around, I can tell you,” Trump continued. “They didn’t talk that way or I would have gotten rid of them in two minutes. But in particular, (the head of the) Navy and Milley, just sad, pathetic statements.”

In September of last year, then-President Trump issued an order throughout the executive branch, barring agencies from spending government money on critical race theory training sessions including those that teach “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where government employees are required to say that they “benefit from racism.”

Speaking with Newsmax on Friday, Trump said “you didn’t have it or hear” about critical race theory during his administration “but existed during us and I ended it,” said Trump. “I would terminate it everywhere itt popped up its ugly head. We terminated it very strongly. I mean, we really went after it and it ended and as soon as they came in, they’re back to putting it up.”

For months now, Republican lawmakers have been raising concerns about critical race theory and other controversial racially-charged ideas being taught within the military.

In April, Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) raised concerns about West Point Military Academy cadets being made to attend a mandatory race training assembly during which they were told white police officers are murderers and another mandatory seminar where segments of a presentation called “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage” were taught. Waltz noted the original “White Rage” presentation was taught by Dr. Carol Anderson of Emory University, and that Anderson had previously described the Republican party as yearning “for a white republic” and representing a “white nationalist” platform.

Earlier this month, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) noted other racially charged training, including ones where military personnel was ordered to segregate by race and sex for so-called “privilege walks” and other instances where U.S. military personnel were told by their superiors that entire military organizations are racist.