Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Feared a Trump Coup

Gen. Mark Milley thought Trump was adopting 'gospel of the Führer': book
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2021 9:04 AM CDT
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Feared a Trump Coup
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 17, 2021.   (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)

America's top general was so worried President Trump would refuse to give up the presidency that he asked confidants if a coup was imminent. So Pulitzer Prize winners Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post report in I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year. "This is a Reichstag moment … The gospel of the Führer," they quote Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as telling aides about Trump's false claims of election fraud, pointing to the 1933 attack on Germany's parliament building that Adolf Hitler used to establish a dictatorship, per the Post. Even before the Capitol attack, Milley thought "Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military," the book reads, per the Guardian. Aides had drafted an order to invoke the act on June 1, 2020, per the New York Times.

But Milley strategized with military leaders about how to block such an order. He also sought to block the firing of FBI Director Chris Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, having told deputies that a coup wouldn't be possible "without the CIA and the FBI," per CNN. Concerns about a coup came a week after Trump's election loss, when an old friend called to voice fears about Trump allies trying to "overturn the government." That same day, Milley had attended a briefing about a pro-Trump rally protesting the election and went on to refer to Trump supporters as "brownshirts," a name given to members of an early Nazi militia. Milley later promised a peaceful transfer of power, noting, "we're going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren't getting in," according to the book, based on interviews with more than 140 people. It's out on Tuesday. (Read more Mark Milley stories.)

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