The media covered one the most challenging stories in the presidential administration. It was about whether Donald Trump would do anything drastic if he loses his reelection bid. Trump’s supporters were quick to ridicule speculations about Trump calling in the military and even trying to pull off a coup d’etat.
Christopher C. Miller, former Trump acting defense secretary, testified in May that the media’s “irresponsible comment” on the topic inflamed situations ahead of the Jan. 6, Capitol riot.
What we have learned since then can only be described as an affirmation of the cautionary coverage.
We’ve learned in the two months that Miller’s testimony has been recorded that Miller’s testimony was not the first to reveal that Miller and two of the most senior figures responsible for overseeing the U.S. army — Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark A. Milley, and Miller’s predecessor, Mark T. Esper, had serious concerns about Trump’s involvement in the election. At least one report suggests that Miller was involved in this, at most to a certain extent.
My Washington Post colleagues Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker have just released a new book. They report that Milley was very worried about a coup attempt and did everything in their power to stop it. Milley even described it as a “Reichstag Moment” — i.e. Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric after a fire attack on Germany’s government.
Trump continued to make false claims about 2020’s presidential election. Gen. Mark A. Milley was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He became more nervous and told aides that he feared the president and his acolytes would attempt to use military force to keep in office. Carol Leonnig, Philip Rucker, and “I Alone Can Repair It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Last Year.”
Milley described a “gut-churning” feeling when he heard Trump’s false complaints about election fraud. Milley made a comparison with the 1933 attack on Germany’s parliament building, which Hitler used to justify his Nazi dictatorship.
According to the book, Milley said to aides that “this is a Reichstag moment”. “The gospel about the Fuhrer.”
Milley believed that if someone wanted to take control of the FBI, CIA, and Defense Department, Milley would have to do so over them. Trump already had staunch allies there. According to the book, he said that while they may try, they won’t succeed.
Milley was a reassuring soothsayer for a number of concerned members and officials of Congress who were worried about Trump’s use of the military to keep him in power.