Gen. Mark Milley, the soon-to-retire chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made a claim exposing Donald Trump for making “disturbing” comments about a wounded US military veteran, as well as other sensational statements.
Mr. Milley is the 20th president, a role he began when Mr. Trump gave it to him in 2019. Before that, he was the Army's 39th chief of staff and served in multiple commands throughout his career.
In a telling interview with The Atlantic to mark the end of his 43-year career in the armed services, he recounted the times the former president made surprising comments about former Army Capt. Luis Avila, who was seriously injured after five combat tours and appeared at a ceremony with Trump and Millie.
“Why do you bring people like this here? No one wants to see this, the wounded.” Trump reportedly told Milley as much, asking him to never let the soldier make a public appearance again.
Mr Avila, who had “lost a leg in an IED attack in Afghanistan and suffered two heart attacks, two strokes and brain damage as a result of his injuries”, was invited by Mr Milley to sing at a reception of the Armed Forces in September 2019.
To Mr. Milley, Mr. Avila symbolized the heroism and courage of those who serve on active duty, so much so that they would sacrifice their lives for the country. Milley himself had to bury 242 soldiers who had served under his command in tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Atlantic wrote.
Mr. Trump took a very different view, according to Mr. Milley. “Trump's attitude toward the uniformed services seemed superficial, callous and, at a deeply human level, repulsive,” The Atlantic concluded.
In video of the performance, Mr Trump is seen making his way over to hug and congratulate Mr Avila, but moments after he was reported to have made the harsh comment to Mr Milli, in front of other witnesses.
The article also said Mr Milley tried to educate the then-president in “the concepts of honour, sacrifice and duty”.
According to The Atlantic, Trump had a “sour view” of the armed forces, which made Mr. Milley's job much more difficult than he thought it would be.
Mr. Milley also recounts another of Mr. Trump's warped views of the armed forces.
“Milley found himself in a troubling position: trying and failing to teach President Trump the difference between appropriate battlefield aggression on the one hand and war crimes on the other,” The Atlantic wrote.
In one incident, he says Mr. Trump called Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher a “hero,” saying “you guys” — meaning combat soldiers — “are all just killers. What's the difference?”
Mr Gallagher had previously been found guilty of posing with the dead body of an Islamic State prisoner, who he also stabbed in the neck with a knife.
In 2020, reports suggest that Mr Trump was accused of calling dead US soldiers “losers” and “scumbags” after canceling his trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, where 1,800 US Marines died in combat World War I. they are buried.
Mr. Milley also noted at other times that he had despised Mr. Trump's actions.
In the infamous photo scandal in Lafayette Square – after George Floyd protesters were violently cleared outside the White House – Milli said he felt cheated by being asked to be there in his uniform, as he felt it was too much. intersection between the military and politics.
His relationship with Trump soured after Mr Milli publicly apologized over the matter, with the then-president telling him the apology was a sign of weakness.
He also says that when he was interviewed for the presidency, Mr. Trump asked him if he was “soft on transgender people,” the article notes.
“I'm not soft on trans people or hard on trans people. I'm talking about the standards in the US military, who is qualified to serve in the US military. I don't care who you sleep with or what you are,” Mr Milley replied, according to the article.