Donald Trump made a series of aggressive comments on social media about outgoing head of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley, suggesting the top military leader’s conduct was worthy of execution.
“Mark Milley, who led perhaps the most embarrassing moment in American history with his grossly incompetent implementation of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, costing many lives, leaving behind hundreds of American citizens, and handing over BILLIONS of dollars of the finest military equipment ever made, will be leaving the military next week,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday.
“This will be a time for all citizens of the USA to celebrate!” he continued. “This guy turned out to be a Woke train wreck who, if the Fake News reporting is correct, was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States. This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!”
The Independent has contacted the Joint Chiefs of Staff for comment.
The former president’s comments could potentially run afoul of his release conditions ahead of his trials related to the special counsel investigations against him in the Mar-a-Lago documents and 2020 election conspiracy cases. He has been warned to avoid publicly attacking court officers and potential witnesses on social media.
If Mr Milley is in fact a witness in either of these case, Mr Trump could face serious penalties.
"My bet: Donald Trump is threatening General Milley because General Milley is on the government’s witness list for the trial in the Mar-a-Lago documents case," former New York Attorney General’s Office official Tristan Snell wrote on X on Saturday.
Mr Trump’s attacks on Mr Milley come after the military official was featured in an in-depth profile in The Atlantic, where the general described Mr Trump’s “disturbing” alleged lack of respect for the armed forces.
He described how at a 2019 event, Mr Trump reportedly expressed disgust that Luis Avila, an Army veteran who served five combat tours and lost his leg in an IED attack, was chosen to sing “God Bless America.”
"Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded,” Mr Trump allegedly said.
The former president also reportedly praised Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was previously found guilty of posing the dead body of an Isis prisoner who he stabbed in the neck, as a “hero,” claiming soldiers are “are all just killers. What’s the difference?”
Mr Trump’s China comments likely reference a set of calls Mr Milley paid to his Chinese counterpart, assuring him the US didn’t have plans in 2020 and early 2021 to attack China, after intelligence officials captured Chinese officials appearing to fear the prospect as likely.
"The calls on 30 October and 8 January were coordinated before and after with Secretary [Mark] Esper and acting Secretary [Chris] Miller’s staffs and the interagency," Mr Milley testified in the Senate in 2021.
"My task at that time was to de-escalate," he added.