By Alex Griffing
Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley , has warned that should former President Donald Trump return to the White House he will lack the guardrails that restrained his worst impulses during his first term and “will start throwing people in jail” as he sees fit. Milley added that he would be “top of the list” of critics Trump would use the power of government to imprison.
Milley’s dire warning was included in Jeffrey Goldberg’s in-depth profile of the veteran military leader published Thursday in the Atlantic, titled , “The Patriot.”
“If Trump is reelected president, there will be no Espers or Milleys in his administration. Nor will there be any officials of the stature and independence of John Kelly , H. R. McMaster , or James Mattis ,” Goldberg wrote, listing some of Trump’s former Pentagon leaders and key White House officials.
“Trump and his allies have already threatened officials they see as disloyal with imprisonment, and there is little reason to imagine that he would not attempt to carry out his threats,” Goldberg continued, adding:
Milley has told friends that he expects that if Trump returns to the White House, the newly elected president will come after him. “He’ll start throwing people in jail, and I’d be on the top of the list,” he has said. But he’s also told friends that he does not believe the country will reelect Trump.
Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of the Atlantic , noted when he asked Milley about the quote the general did not directly address it, but instead voiced his “optimism” for the future of the country.
“I have a lot of confidence in the general officer corps, and I have confidence in the American people. The United States of America is an extraordinarily resilient country, agile and flexible, and the inherent goodness of the American people is there. I’ve always believed that, and I will go to my grave believing that,” Milley told Goldberg.
“After all you’ve been through, you believe that?” Goldberg shot back.
“There are bumps in the road, to be sure, and you get through the bumps, but I don’t want to overstate this. What did I do? All I did was try to preserve the integrity of the military and to keep the military out of domestic politics. That’s all I did,” Milley replied.
Goldberg’s piece also reported that Trump did not want to be seen at events with severely wounded American soldiers, recalling previous reporting from Goldberg that Trump, while president, disparaged soldiers who were killed in action. In September 2020, Goldberg reported that Trump had called Americans who died for their country “losers” and “suckers.”