Gen. Mark Milley, who retired from his post as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, highlighted the military’s allegiance to the Constitution instead of a “wannabe dictator” in his retirement speech Friday morning, appearing to take a parting shot at former President Donald Trump.
Milley handed over the chairman’s reins after four tumultuous years serving as the chief military adviser first to Trump and then President Joe Biden during a ceremony. In his farewell speech, Milley emphasized the commitment U.S. troops make to defend the Constitution and appeared to reference Trump as reporting suggests he privately considered the former president a danger to American democracy.
“We are unique among the world’s militaries. We do not take an oath to a country. We do not take an oath to a tribe, we don’t take an oath to a religion, we don’t take an oath to a king or a queen or a tyrant or a dictator,” Milley said. “And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator.
“We do not take an oath to an individual,” he continued.
It’s not the first time Milley has appeared to subtly jab at Trump.
Milley reminded commissioning ROTC cadets, “you’re not taking an oath to a dictator or wannabe dictator or tyrant to the Constitution,” in a 2022 speech at Princeton University.
“We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we’re willing to die to protect it … each of us commits our very life to protect and defend that document, regardless of the personal price, and we are not easily intimidated,” he said.
Gen. Milley warning about Trump, without using his name: "We don't take an oath to a king, or queen, or a tyrant or a dictator. And we don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator" pic.twitter.com/CILewmoNNB
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) September 29, 2023
Trump picked Milley to serve as his adviser in 2018, but enmity arose between the two in the events leading up to and following the Jan 6. Capitol riots as Milley grew concerned about what he saw as Trump’s emerging authoritarianism.
Milley feared Trump was inciting domestic unrest as a pretext to invoke the Insurrection Act and bring out the military to restore order, testimony shows.
“I was concerned that there could have been a serious overseas crisis at a moment in time in combination with serious domestic violence that could become the predicate for something that probably was extrajudicial or unconstitutional,” Milley told Congress in November 2021.
“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley reportedly told his staff, referring to attempts to replace the U.S. government, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker wrote in their book “I Alone Can Fix It,” which is allegedly based on interviews with Milley and others, according to CNN. “The gospel of the Führer,” he allegedly said.
He has refused to confirm or deny the contents of the books, and said he would not characterize his own comments or observations of Trump.
Trump did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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