Former US president Donald Trump lambasted Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a post on his social media platform last Fridayfor a phone call that he made following the January 6 Capitol insurrection and suggested that the top US military official be executed.
In response to the issue, Milley said in September 2021 that the goal of the phone call was to reassure China that Trump was not preparing an attack on the country.
"I know, I am certain, that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese and it was my directed responsibility to convey presidential orders and intent," Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He added: "My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent: Stay calm, steady, and de-escalate. We are not going to attack you."
Additionally, according to The Atlantic, the said phone call “was, in fact, explicitly authorised by Trump-administration officials.”
"This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act. To be continued!!!" Trump wrote on Truth Social last Friday.
Hopping on the criticism bandwagon, far-right Republican Paul Gosar, R-Ariz, in his weekly email newsletter, accused Milley of being responsible for the delayed deployment of the National Guard on January 6, calling him "a homosexual-promoting, BLM-activist Chairman of the military joint chiefs."
He continued: "In a better society, quislings like the strange sodomy-promoting General Milley would be hung."
According to CNN,Milley's staff uses Fox News transcripts to see if he is being talked about, a practice criticised for slander by top Fox personalities. However, the act highlights Milley's deep-seated ties to military politics.
Milley's career was marked by his political dexterity and ability to handle Trump's demands with judicious silence.
A former senior aid explained that despite maintaining an apolitical stance, Milley had to work with members of both parties to fulfil his duties in Washington, an inherently political environment.
During Trump's final term, Milley faced widespread criticism from GOP lawmakers and Trump allies, accusing him of fostering a "woke" military and compromising civilian control.
Milley has rejected culture-war claims, telling CNN earlier this month, "This military is a lot of things, but woke, it's not. So I take exception to that. I think that people say those things for reasons that are their own reasons, but it's not true."