The head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley feared late last year that the then president, Donald Trump, would abolish the Constitution to retain power, according to a new book. He compared the situation to the taking of the Reichstag in 1933 by Adolf Hitler.
Milley saw Trump’s refusal to accept defeat to Joe Biden in the November 2020 election as a possible sign of his intention to retain power by any means, according to excerpts from the book by The Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, released this Thursday by the newspaper and CNN.
“This is a moment like the Reichstag. The Gospel of the Führer,” Milley told his Pentagon advisers, according to the authors of the book, titled “I Alone Can Fix It.”
In 1933 Hitler took advantage of a suspicious fire in the Reichstag, the German parliament, to suspend civil liberties and concentrate authority in his government, setting the stage for the consolidation of Nazi power.
When Trump summoned his supporters for a march on Washington in November, it looked like he was deploying “brown shirts in the streets,” the book says, alluding to Hitler’s violent militia.
Trump persisted in stating without proof that a fraud had stolen a second term from him, calling for another demonstration on January 6, when his followers attacked Congress.
Milley then planned a collective resignation with other top officials to make it clear that they would not accept a coup from the outgoing president.
“They can try, but they are not going to be successful,” Milley told his advisers, according to the book.
“You cannot do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We are the guys with the guns,” he added.
The book, which will go on sale next week, constitutes the most disturbing view so far on how the Trump government’s refusal was perceived within the government to accept their electoral defeat.
Milley had already resisted earlier in the year the desire to Trump to call in the military to confront protests against racism in various cities.
That led him to distrust the motivations of Trump, especially after the election, when the president began replacing top officials, including at the Pentagon, with close loyalists despite only having weeks in office.
“Milley told his staff that he believed that Trump was causing riots, possibly hoping for an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Law and call in the military,” the book says.
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