In an implied reply to the latest attack against him by former president Donald Trump, General Mark Milley said, “We don’t take an oath to a king, or a queen, or to a tyrant or dictator, and we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator…We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we’re willing to die to protect it.”
At his retirement ceremony on September 29, Milley continued, “Every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, guardian and Coast Guardsman, each of us commits our very life to protect and defend that document, regardless of personal price. And we are not easily intimidated.”
Just a few days ago, reaching a crescendo of repeated attacks against the retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former president Donald Trump called for him to be “put to death”, accusing him of treason.
Trump claims that Milley went behind his back by making phone calls to Chinese counterparts in the final months of his presidency, and of being a “fucking idiot” and a “woke train wreck”. Trump also claimed that Milley delayed National Guard assistance to the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. Milley defended his actions as attempts to de-escalate tensions with China and to protect the Constitution from Trump.
Milley was honored with an armed forces farewell tribute at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, where he handed over command to Air Force chief General Charles Q. Brown, who became the second Black officer to hold the position.
In his farewell speech, Milley praised the US military for its loyalty to the Constitution and not to any individual or “wannabe dictator” and also highlighted some of the achievements and challenges of his tenure, such as the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the defense of Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The bitter feud between the General and Trump has escalated since the end of the Trump presidency, as Milley has expressed the belief that Trump’s actions were “shameful” and he was “complicit” in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, adding that he feared Trump’s “‘Hitler-like’ embrace of the big lie about the election would prompt the president to seek out a ‘Reichstag moment.'”