Report: Milley Considered Resigning After Photo-Op Backlash

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 4, 2020. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
June 12, 2020 10:48 a.m.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley reportedly considered stepping down after being excoriated for his participation in President Donald Trump’s widely panned photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church last week.

Unnamed defense officials told NBC News that Milley read the backlash on social media for hours after the photo-op and spoke with confidants about the possibility of resigning.

The officials said Milley was unaware he was headed to a photo-op when he followed Trump to the church, the same claim Defense Secretary Mark Esper made while defending his role in the scandal.

During his speech at the National Defense University commencement ceremony on Thursday, Milley apologized for his involvement in the photo-op and admitted he “should not have been there.”

“As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it,” he said.

The media office at the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not respond to TPM’s request for comment at the time of writing.

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