Sunday, August 7

Mark A. Milley, the general who thought the president of the United States crazy

Washington Correspondent



Anything was possible in the Trump era. Until the highest-ranking general in the US Armed Forces telephoned his Chinese counterpart to tell him that whatever happened, he had no intention of attacking him. And that, in any case, if the president ordered an attack, he would call Beijing first. As icing, Mark MilleyChairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff told General Li Zuocheng: “Everything is fine, but democracy can be a bit sloppy at times.”

General Milley’s campaign (Boston, 1958) to rehabilitate his image and, it is understood, not to lose his position, is astonishing. It is clear that you have spoken with the authors of the most recent books on

the last year of Trump’s presidency, to whom he has counted private conversations, especially to Bob Woodward – famous for discovering the Watergate scandal – and Robert Costa, authors of ‘Peligro’, the book that tells of those contacts with China.

What is clear in these accounts is that even before Trump lost the election, General Milley was already maneuvering against him because he believed that the president had entered a drift bordering on delirium and insanity. It was an unexpected turn in a very used Washington. to this kind of drama. Milley, who is an Infantry Corps general, a 16-time veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, was booked as chief of staff by Trump on December 8, 2018 against the judgment of his military advisers. In principle, the president wanted him to take command of the NATO troops, but there was chemistry between the two and he impulsively offered him the other position, which is equivalent to that of the White House’s top adviser on military matters.

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“Everything is fine, but democracy can be a bit sloppy at times,” the general told his Chinese counterpart.

In exchange for those charges, Trump used to expect absolute, blind loyalty. That is why he summoned General Milley to the White House on June 1, 2020. Washington was in the throes of a new wave of racial protest and the National Guard was deployed to prevent riots. Milley was wearing a combat uniform. He arrived at the White House and Trump motioned for him to accompany him. They went out the front door as riot police cleared the surrounding streets with blows, tear gas and stun grenades. It was only when he arrived at a church whose basement had been burned hours before that General Milley realized that Trump had taken him to take a picture. He immediately turned around and disappeared. Several weeks later he made the unusual decision in the US military leadership to apologize for having allowed himself to be photographed in uniform on such a walk, because “it created the perception that the military is involved in politics.”

Milley has not apologized for contacting China and implying that whatever Trump said, there would be no attack. That is to say, the one who commanded, in the end, was not the commander-in-chief, but his military advisor. Not that Joe Biden cared too much about that. Yesterday his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said that the current president believes that Milley, who maintains the position, did the right thing, because he is “a patriot.” The play worked out for Milley wonderfully.

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