Retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has unveiled a stunning revelation regarding former President Donald Trump. In a candid interview with The Atlantic, marking the conclusion of his remarkable 43-year military career, General Milley disclosed shocking comments made by Trump, both regarding a wounded U.S. Army veteran, Captain Luis Avila, and a series of other eyebrow-raising statements.
General Milley's illustrious career spanned various command positions, including his role as the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army. He took on the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2019, a nomination that came directly from President Trump himself.
The interview provides a deep dive into the disheartening moment when Trump reportedly made disparaging remarks about Captain Avila, who had been gravely wounded after completing five combat tours and had appeared alongside Trump and Milley at a ceremony. According to General Milley, Trump asked, "Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded." He further implored Milley never to allow Captain Avila to make another public appearance.
Captain Avila, a genuine hero who had lost a leg in an IED attack in Afghanistan and endured two heart attacks, two strokes, and brain damage due to his injuries, had been invited by General Milley to sing at an Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony in September 2019. For Milley, Captain Avila symbolized the unwavering courage and sacrifice of those in active duty, a stark contrast to Trump's reported insensitivity.
The article underscores that General Milley had personally overseen the funerals of 242 soldiers who had served under his command in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump's alleged attitude toward the military appeared superficial and deeply unsettling to General Milley.
While video footage captures Trump embracing and congratulating Captain Avila, his reported callous remark to General Milley was overheard by other witnesses. The Atlantic article also reveals General Milley's attempts to educate Trump on concepts such as honor, sacrifice, and duty.
The publication suggests that Trump had a less than favorable view of the armed forces, making General Milley's role even more challenging. The Atlantic states that Milley found himself in the unsettling position of trying, unsuccessfully, to distinguish between appropriate battlefield aggressiveness and war crimes for the former president.
Trump's Controversial Statements
In another incident, Trump reportedly referred to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, previously found guilty of posing with the dead body of an Islamic State prisoner, as a "hero," questioning the difference between combat soldiers and killers.
General Milley's revelations shed light on a broader pattern of behavior by Trump, including allegations of calling deceased American soldiers "losers" and "suckers" during the cancellation of a trip to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery in France, where 1,800 U.S. Marines who perished in a World War I battle are interred.
The article also discusses General Milley's discomfort regarding his involvement in the Lafayette Square photo-op controversy, where peaceful George Floyd protesters were dispersed outside the White House. General Milley expressed feeling deceived by being present in his uniform, as it blurred the line between the military and politics. His public apology on the matter strained his relationship with Trump, who reportedly viewed apologies as a sign of weakness.
General Milley also recounted an incident during his chairman job interview in which Trump inquired about his stance on transgender individuals in the military. Milley's response emphasized his commitment to upholding standards in the U.S. military, irrespective of personal attributes.
General Milley's revelations provide a rare glimpse into his tumultuous tenure during the Trump administration, offering a perspective on the complex dynamics between the military and the highest office in the land. These disclosures raise questions about the former president's approach to the armed forces and its leaders.