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Joint Chiefs chairman warned aides of a ‘Reichstag moment’ in twilight of Trump’s presidency

Gen. Mark Milley was nervous that former President Donald Trump would try to remain in the White House after Trump lost the 2020 election

President Donald Trump with Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley.
Then-President Donald Trump departs the White House to visit outside St. John’s Church in Washington June 1, 2020. Walking behind Trump from left are, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark A. Milley, a man who’s spent nearly the last four decades fighting in America’s wars abroad, was nervous during the final days of former President Donald Trump tenure as commander in chief, according to a new book by two journalists from The Washington Post.

Milley — the nation’s highest ranking military officer — was worried that Trump might try to use the U.S. armed forces to protect his false claim to the presidency, The Washington Post reported, referencing a book by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker titled “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.”

In the twilight of Trump’s administration, Milley “grew more and more nervous” by the former president’s actions and told aides that America was in a “Reichstag moment,” The Washington Post reported.

  • The 1933 arson of the “Reichstag,” or the German parliamentary building, is when “Adolf Hitler played upon public and political fears to consolidate power, setting the stage for the rise of Nazi Germany,” according Smithsonian Magazine.
  • The chairman “saw himself and the armed forces as a bulwark against any presidential mutiny against the Constitution and the nearly two-and-a-half centuries of democratic transfers of power,” reported CNN, who first broke the Reichstag moment story.

On Thursday, Trump denied there would have ever been a “coup” and, again, insisted without evidence that the 2020 election was a “scam.”

  • “If a was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley,” the former president said in a statement on his website.

There never was a “Reichstag moment,” and the U.S Capitol wasn’t burned to the ground, but the transfer of power from Trump to President Joe Biden was anything but pretty. The Democrat-controlled U.S. House is now also leading an investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, reported the Deseret News.

Trump wants Gen. Milley to resign

This wasn’t the first spat between two of the nation’s most powerful leaders. And since leaving the Oval Office, Trump has called on Milley to resign and has said that the general’s “greatest fear is upsetting the woke mob.”

  • “Gen. Milley ought to resign, and be replaced with someone who is actually willing to defend our Military from the Leftist Radicals who hate our Country and our Flag,” Trump said in a June 30 statement posted to his website.

That statement was inspired by a June 28 Axios story which reported that Milley and the president had an expletive-filled shouting match in the Situation Room during last summer’s protests.

  • In the meeting, Trump tried to “put Milley in charge of a scorched-earth military campaign to suppress protests that had spiraled into riots in several cities,” according to Axios, who referenced another new book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” by The Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.
  • Milley, who was supported in the meeting by then-Attorney General William Bar, argued with the president that, as the nation’s top military adviser, he could not command a military unit.