The number one US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, and other top military officials feared that former President, Donald Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures after the November election, that they informally planned for different ways to stop him, excerpts of an upcoming book from Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker reveal.
The book, “I Alone Can Fix It,” scheduled to be released next Tuesday, chronicles Trump’s final year as president, with a behind-the-scenes look at how senior administration officials and Trump’s inner circle navigated his behavior after losing the 2020 election. The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours.
The book reportedly describes how Milley and the other Joint Chiefs discussed a plan to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised.
“It was a kind of Saturday Night Massacre in reverse,” Leonnig and Rucker write.
The book explains Milley’s growing concerns that moves that put Trump’s men in positions of power at the Pentagon after the November 2020 election, including the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the resignation of Attorney General William Barr, were the sign of something bad to come.
Milley spoke to friends, lawmakers and colleagues about the threat of a coup, and the Joint Chiefs chairman felt he had to be “on guard” for what might come.
“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to the authors.
“You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”
In the days leading up to January 6, Leonnig and Rucker write, Milley was worried about Trump’s call to action. “Milley told his staff that he believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military.”
Milley viewed Trump as “the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,”
Miley also claimed to see similarities between Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric as a victim and savior and Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides, according to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.” ‘This is all real, man’
Rucker and Leonnig interviewed more than 140 sources for the book, though most were given anonymity to speak candidly to reconstruct events and dialogue. Milley is quoted extensively and comes off in a positive light as someone who tried to keep democracy alive because he believed it was on the brink of collapse after receiving a warning one week after the election from an old friend.
“What they are trying to do here is overturn the government,” said the friend, who is not named, according to the authors. “This is all real, man. You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff.”
Milley’s reputation took a major hit in June 2020, when he joined Trump during his controversial photo-op at St. John’s Church, after federal forces violently dispersed a peaceful crowd of social justice protesters at Lafayette Square outside the White House. The book also details how Milley tried to stop Trump from firing FBI Director Chris Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
“What’s going on? Are you guys getting rid of Wray or Gina?” Milley asked Trump’s chief of staff.
“Come on chief. What the hell is going on here? What are you guys doing?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Meadows said. “Just some personnel moves.”
“Just be careful,” Milley responded. ‘That doesn’t make any sense’