Former President Donald Trump is facing backlash from within the Republican Party after suggesting that outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley committed crimes worthy of the death penalty.
Trump wrote the fiery accusations on his social media platform Truth Social, taking umbrage with Milley’s reported phone call with China following the Jan. 6, 2021, protests.
Trump wrote that Milley “turned out to be a Woke train wreck who, if the Fake News reporting is correct, was actually dealing with China to give them a heads-up on the thinking of the President of the United States.”
Milley spoke with Chinese counterparts in the aftermath of the capitol protests to assure them that the United States was not under threat — the general later told Congress that members of the administration were aware of the call.
“This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!” the former president continued.
Several of Trump’s fellow Republican 2024 presidential hopefuls spoke out against his comments, including former Vice President Mike Pence.
“There is no call for that kind of language directed toward someone who’s worn the uniform of the United States and served with such distinction,” Pence said.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Politico that Trump’s rhetoric created genuine danger for Milley and disrespected the military.
“To suggest that Gen. Milley should be executed is inexcusable and dangerous,” Hutchinson told the outlet. “While some will excuse this latest outrage as Trump just being Trump, the fact is that his statement endangers people and is an insult to those who serve in the military.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Trump an “absolute child” for his comments during an interview with MSNBC.
Milley, meanwhile, said the rhetoric endangers his family.
“I wish those comments had not been made, and I’ll take appropriate measures to ensure my safety and the safety of my family,” Milley told CBS News on Wednesday night.
The former general said he has taken “adequate safety precautions” following Trump’s post.
“As much as these comments are directed at me, it’s also directed at the institution of the military. And there is 2.1 million of us in uniform,” Milley continued. “And the American people can take it to the bank, that all of us, every single one of us, from private to general, are loyal to that Constitution and will never turn our back on it no matter what. No matter what the threats, no matter what the humiliation, no matter what.”
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