On Monday, the New Yorker reported Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley had grown so disaffected with President Donald Trump in 2020 that he considered resigning but instead chose to stay and ‘fight’ Trump ‘from inside’ the administration.
The New Yorker published these alleged details about Milley in a forthcoming book “The Divider: Trump in The White House,” written by New York Times journalist Peter Baker and New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser, which releases in September.
According to the book excerpts, Milley debated resigning after being photographed walking with Trump near the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. the night after it was damaged by arsonists. Critics characterized the moment as a photo op, and Milley publicly apologized for participating.
In a prepared, but never submitted resignation letter that followed, Milley allegedly said Trump was “doing great and irreparable harm to my country.” Ultimately, instead of resigning Milley decided “I will fight from the inside.” From there, Milley vowed to stop Trump from starting any new wars or using the military to stay in office.
Twitter erupted over the claims in the forthcoming book, with journalists, and political and military figures debating whether Milley was acting out of legitimate concern about Trump’s leadership or whether he was subverting the duly elected president.
Retired U.S. Diplomat Alberto Miguel Fernandez criticized the New Yorker article as “creepy” for “glorifying assorted generals standing up to the civilian president.”
Fernandez added that Milley’s “playing Trump to become Joint Chief of Staff” didn’t reflect well on Trump, but made Milley “look as bad or worse.”
Retired Navy commander Phil Ehr said, “American people and troops trust military leaders who blocked Trump’s treachery. General Milley’s apology following his disgrace on Lafayette Square, his draft resignation letter, his decision to fight from within, and his forthright testimony to Congress validate our trust.”
Army veteran and Congressional candidate Ashley Ehasz accused Trump of harming the nation by using the military as a political prop, and implied Milley was upholding his oath to the Constitution.
Space Force veteran Matthew Lohmeier asked why Milley was still Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after vowing to fight Trump and discussing how to take the nuclear football away from Trump.
Columnist Michael Cohen said Milley’s actions were “a flagrantly inappropriate thing for a US general to do.”
“Mark Milley is a dire threat to the country and Republicans must deal with this immediately,” political commentator and American Greatness contributor Julie Kelly tweeted. “He’s deranged megalomaniac with tremendous power. He thinks he should run the country subverting the will of the people and the elected president. Terrifying.”
“Milley could see clearly that Trump is a autocrat who should never hold political or military power,” Jennifer Mercieca, a communications professor at Texas A&M and frequent Trump critic, tweeted. “When academics like me call Trump a fascist or say that he talks like a fascist it’s easy to dismiss. Much less easy to dismiss when it comes from his own high ranking military.”
“We’re lucky that the highest ranking military officials were pro-democracy and took Trump’s threat seriously,” Merceica added. “We came so close to Trump’s treason-coup succeeding. I’m not sure we’ll really be able to understand how close we came to losing democracy in America.”
Jenna Ellis, who served as a legal advisor to Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted, “We The People accept Milley’s resignation, effective immediately.”
Columnist Matthew Yglesias defended Milley’s alleged decision not to resign and instead work within Trump’s administration to counter his actions.
“It’s a tough question but if you’re in a top military job and you believe you are receiving unconscionable orders that violate your oath to the constitution, I’m not sure resigning to clear the decks for someone else to do it is the right response,” Yglesias tweeted.
Lawyer and conservative commentator Will Chamberlain tweeted, “I love how [the New Yorker article] says ‘the Constitution offered no practical guide to a general dealing with a rogue President.’ Sure it did. Article II Section II makes the President Commander-in-Chief. Milley should genuinely be court-martialed over this crap
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs decided that he would ‘fight’ the sitting President rather than resign,” Chamberlain added. “But don’t you dare suggest anything about the existence of a deep state.”
North Carolina state Sen. Jeff Jackson, who is running for U.S. Congress as a Democrat, tweeted, “Here is Gen. Milley’s letter of resignation as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He never delivered it, choosing instead to try to keep a bad situation from becoming a disaster.”
It’s truly a remarkable document,” added Jackson, who also serves in the National Guard. “Everyone should read it – and no one should forget it.”