E. Casey Wardynski, a former assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs under President Donald Trump said in a new interview on Monday that Gen. Mark Milley and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville both engaged in “pattern of behavior” that overstepped their authority and undermined Trump’s leadership.
“These kind of behaviors and this willingness for military leaders to exceed their authorities and ignore authorities of the civilian officials appointed over them … positions under the Constitution and laws of the country was not something that came to them on Jan. 8,” Wardynski told Fox News. “It was something that they had done for a while.”
Wardynski served in the U.S. Army for 30 years and is a retired colonel. During the Trump administration, he was responsible for Army personnel policy and supervision of the Army’s 1.3 million-person manpower program. He recently announced his candidacy as a Republican contender for a U.S. House seat to represent northern Alabama.
Last week, controversial excerpts from a forthcoming book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, alleged Milley called on other military officials to not carry out orders by Trump without first going through him and that he called a Chinese military leader promising to provide them advanced warning of a U.S. attack.
Milley reportedly called his Chinese military counterpart on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the 2020 U.S. presidential election between then-President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Milley held a second call that took place on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol. In one of the phone calls, Milley allegedly said, “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
In another reported conversation Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Milley she was concerned about Trump initiating military hostilities or even ordering a nuclear strike in the final days of his presidency. Milley reportedly told Pelosi he shared her concerns and assured her there are “a lot of checks in the system.”
Wardynski told Fox News he felt Milley and McConville began to exhibit some of their defiant behavior during riots in the summer of 2020. As the Trump administration considered responses to the riots, Wardynski said McConville told him he “would not be obeying any illegal orders from the president.”
“My interpretation of that was he was talking about any use of the Insurrection Act by the president,” Wardynski said.
Insurrection Act of 1807 allows a president to deploy U.S. militarized forces and National Guard troops in the event of an extreme civil disturbance or an insurrection.
As the 2020 election neared, McConville again told Wardynski he would “not obey illegal orders from the president.” The incident prompted Wardynski to call the number-three attorney for the Army at the time for advice. Wardynski said he told the lawyer that Army leaders may “refuse to obey an order from the president if he directs the Army to implement the Insurrection Act.”
“My impression is, for some time, these people had no intention of supporting the president,” Wardynski said. “Milley, in staff meetings, was routinely a bully. He would sit at the head of the table with the secretary, the secretary would say we’re going to do the following, and Milley would look at the gathered staff and tell them, ‘Let me tell you what the secretary just said’ and it was pretty much something different.”
Wardynski said Milley’s reported conversation with Pelosi and his decision to tell military officials that he should be a part of any discussion before following orders to initiate a nuclear strike fit Milley’s pattern of undermining behavior.
“I believe it reached, at least, across the top of the Army in military leadership,” Wardynski said.
Wardynski told Fox News he believes Milley and McConville should both resign for their behavior.
Christopher Miller, who served as acting defense secretary during the time period in which some of Milley’s alleged actions took place, said last week that he had not authorized Milley to reach out to his Chinese counterparts. Miller said if Milley’s alleged “histrionic outbursts and unsanctioned, anti-Constitutional involvement in foreign policy prove true, he must resign immediately or be fired by the Secretary of Defense to guarantee the sanctity of the officer corps.”