Gen. Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly compared then-President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to Adolf Hitler, saying that Trump preached “the gospel of the Führer” by pushing falsehoods of a “stolen” election.
In an excerpt of the book “I Alone Can Fix It” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker that was obtained by New York Magazine, Milley fumed that Trump had led the country to the brink of its own “Reichstag moment” with his efforts to delegitimize democracy.
According to Leonnig and Rucker, seven days after Election Day, Milley got a call from “an old friend” that raised alarms about Trump and his allies’ effort to “overturn the government.”
Milley, however, didn’t sweat the warning because he reportedly believed that any of Trump’s attempts to cling to power would hit roadblocks simply because the military wouldn’t let that happen.
“They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed,” Milley told aides, according to Leonnig and Rucker. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with guns.”
Milley was reportedly disturbed over Trump supporters rallying to the then-President’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud, calling them “Brownshirts in the streets.” According to Leonnig and Rucker, Milley “believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military.”
Milley reportedly said that the U.S. was facing its “Reichstag moment,” referring to the 1933 arson attack on the German parliament in Berlin that happened four weeks after Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. The Nazi Party used the attack as a pretext to claim that communists were plotting against the German government.
On Jan. 6, Milley was reportedly at the White House when he watched Trump’s remarks at a “Stop the Steal Rally” — when the then-President told a crowd of his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results — hours before the Capitol insurrection on the day of the joint session of Congress certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“These guys are Nazis, they’re boogaloo boys, they’re Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II,” Milley said a week after the Capitol was breached by a mob of Trump supporters and endangered lawmakers’ lives, according to Leonnig and Rucker.
Following Biden’s oath of office on Inauguration Day, former First Lady Michelle Obama reportedly asked Milley at the Capitol about how he felt.
“No one has a bigger smile today than I do,” Milley told Obama, according to Leonnig and Rucker. “You can’t see it under my mask but I do.”
Leonnig and Rucker’s account of Milley’s reaction to Trump’s efforts to delegitimize democracy come on the heels of Milley facing right-wing outrage over his defense of teaching so-called “critical race theory” to members of the military. Conservatives have appropriated and hijacked the academic and legal concept as one of its many faux culture wars.
“The United States military academy is a university,” Milley said. “And it is important that we train and understand … white rage. And I’m white, and I want to understand it.”
Milley’s defense of “critical race theory” unsurprisingly prompted Trump to call for his resignation.