Top US general rejected Trump's push for military to 'crack skulls'

‘Crack their skulls!’: Trump told military to shoot and ‘beat the f**k’ out of BLM protesters last summer – but Joint Chiefs Chair Milley refused, new book reveals

  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley rejected then President Donald Trump’s suggestions of a violent military crackdown on civil unrest
  • The heated exchanges were written about in Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender’s new book, which CNN reviewed excerpts of
  • In one excerpt, Bender wrote about Trump highlighting cops using force against protestors, saying, ‘That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people’
  • ‘Crack their skulls!’ Trump was quoted as saying in Bender’s book
  • Milley reportedly saw the civil unrest as a political problem – not a military one –  and rejected any notion of using the Insurrection Act to involve the military
  • In one excerpt of the book that CNN used, Milley reportedly pointed to a picture of President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait hanging just to the right of Trump
  • ‘That guy had an insurrection,’ Milley said. ‘What we have, Mr. President, is a protest’

The top US general rejected then-President Donald Trump’s push for the military to ‘crack skulls’ at civil rights protests across the nation in 2020.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley seemed to be at odds and – at times – the lone dissenting voice against the former president wanting to respond with force to protests over the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis. 

Passionate exchanges between Milley and Trump were included in Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender’s new book ‘Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,’ of which CNN obtained excerpts.  

While watching protests unfold in places like Seattle and Portland, Trump highlighted cops’ physical exchanges with protestors and told his administration that’s what he wanted to see, CNN reported.

‘That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,’ Trump told his top law enforcement and military officials, Bender wrote, according to CNN. ‘Crack their skulls!’

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, at the June 17 Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, was reportedly at odds with Donald Trump when Trump was president

While watching protests unfold in several cities last year, then-President Donald Trump, pictured here returning to NYC, wanted the military to ‘crack skulls’ 

A protestor flies an American flag while walking through tear gas fired by federal officers during a protest in front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 21, 2020 in Portland. Trump reportedly suggested violent crackdowns of protestors

Trump also told his team that he wanted the military to go in and ‘beat the f–k out’ of civil rights protestors, Bender wrote, according to CNN.

CNN reported other examples of Trump telling the military to shoot protestors. At one point, a Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller compared the protests to third-world countries, which angered Milley, Bender wrote. 

Milley, who commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, said, ‘Shut the f–k up, Stephen,’ CNN reported from one of the excerpts. 

Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender’s book highlighted tense exchanges between Donald Trump and top General Mark Milley 

Bender’s book showed Milley was concerned that Trump was going to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president to deploy the military in cases of rebellion or terrorist attack.  

Milley reportedly saw the protests and unrest as a political issue – not a military one – and was strongly against implementing the Insurrection Act. 

CNN reported that Milley made a ‘concerted effort’ to stay in Washington as much as possible during Trump’s final months in office. 

In one excerpt, Milley reportedly pointed to a picture of former President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait hanging just to the right of Trump. 

‘That guy had an insurrection,’ Milley said. ‘What we have, Mr. President, is a protest.’

Milley considered the civil unrest, like here in Portland, a political issue; not a military one

In June 2020 – a week after Floyd was killed by white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin – activists who gathered in Lafayette Square, which faces the White House, were cleared away using force. 

Protestors were pushed back with pepper balls and smoke bombs before Trump walked, with Milley and then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper, to the St. John’s Episcopal Church, directly across the street from Lafayette Park, for a photo op.

He posed with a Bible outside the building. Trump did so just minutes after vowing to dispatch thousands of heavily armed soldiers to stop demonstrations.

A federal judge recently cleared Trump of violating Black Lives Matter protestors’ First Amendment right to demonstrate. 

The judge tossed claims filed against the ex-president after saying there was no proof that Trump and his top officials had deliberately conspired to shift the protestors so he could walk to the church.  

Pepper balls were used to clear protestors – although a judge cleared Trump of any lawbreaking after saying there was no proof he had conspired to violate the Constitution 

After arriving at St John’s Church, Trump denounced protestors, and help up a Bible for photos – but did not say any prayers 

Milley, who continues to serves as the Joint Chiefs Chairman under President Joe Biden, has been front and center since Wednesday’s testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. 

Republican lawmakers peppered him with questions about the military being too ‘woke’ and why the military was teaching critical race theory.

While not endorsing critical race theory, Milley strongly condemned those who say it shouldn’t be taught.

‘What is wrong with understanding – having some situational understanding – about the country for which we are here to defend?’ Milley said before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

‘And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers, of being, “woke” or something else, because we’re studying some theories that are out there.’

The general also stressed the need for greater understanding of the driving forces behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump’s supporters, including white supremacists, who tried to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election win.

‘I want to understand white rage, and I’m white and I want to understand it,’ Milley said.

‘What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here.’ 

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley DEFENDS teaching critical race theory in the military, slams ‘offensive’ claims troops are turning woke and links ‘white rage’ to the Capitol riot 

 The United States’ top military officer on Wednesday hit back against growing criticism over teaching critical race theory in the military and said recruits should be ‘open-minded and be widely read.’

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was grilled by Republican Congressmen over claims the US military is becoming more ‘woke’.

He did not endorse critical race theory but strongly condemned those who say it shouldn’t be taught.

‘What is wrong with understanding – having some situational understanding – about the country for which we are here to defend?’ Milley asked before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

‘And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers, of being, ‘woke’ or something else, because we’re studying some theories that are out there.’

 The general stressed the need for greater understanding of the driving forces behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters, including white supremacists, who tried to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election win.

‘I want to understand white rage, and I’m white and I want to understand it,’ Milley said.

‘What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here.’

He was responding after a Republican, U.S. Representative Michael Waltz, a former Army Green Beret, produced a letter from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point acknowledging teaching about critical race theory.

The theory maintains that racism is ingrained in U.S. law and institutions and that legacies of slavery and segregation have created an uneven playing field for Black Americans.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley hit back against growing criticism over teaching critical race theory in the military and said recruits should be ‘open-minded and be widely read’

 Controversy surrounding the theory has mushroomed into a national debate over how – and which version of – U.S. history is taught in schools.

‘This came to me from cadets, from families, from soldiers, with their alarm, with their concern, about how divisive this teaching is,’ Waltz said, adding it was rooted in Marxism.

Milley tried to respond to Waltz directly but only got the opportunity later, when a Democratic lawmaker gave him a chance.

He noted that university graduates should be aware of all kinds of theories and that just because he read about Marxism didn’t make him a Communist.

‘I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist, he told the lawmakers.

‘I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read,’ Milley said.

Milley’s comments came a week after Navy admiral faced tough grilling from Republican lawmakers on his inclusion of the controversial book How To Be An Antiracist on a recommended reading list for sailors.

Admiral Mike Gilday, the chief of Naval operations, stood his ground at Tuesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, defending the book’s inclusion on the list.

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of the lawmakers who questioned Milley over the teaching of critical race theory in the military 

Gilday added the 2019 book by Ibram X. Kendi, which is popular with proponents of critical race theory, to the Navy’s optional reading checklist in February, listing it as a ‘foundational’ work for sailors. 

Kendi’s book proposes that any system that produces different average outcomes for people of different skin colors is racist and should be destroyed, and argues that discrimination that ‘creates equity’ is antiracist and should be lauded. 

At the hearing, which was ostensibly on the Navy’s budget, questions from Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, who cited passages in Kendi’s book arguing that only ‘present discrimination’ can make up for ‘past discrimination’.

‘How does exposing our sailors to the idea that they are either oppressors or oppressed, and that we must actively discriminate in order to make up for past discrimination, improve our Navy’s readiness and lethality?’ Lamborn asked.

‘You mentioned critical race theory — I’m not a theorist, I’m the chief of Naval operations,’ Gilday responded.

‘There is racism in the Navy just like there’s racism in our country, and the way we’re going to get after it is to be honest about it, not to sweep it under the rug, and talk about it,’ he said.

Admiral Mike Gilday, the chief of Naval operations, stood his ground last Tuesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill when he was questioned on his inclusion of the controversial book How To Be An Antiracist on a recommended reading list for sailors

 ‘It doesn’t mean I have any expectation that everybody believe, or support, everything that Mr. Kendi states in his book. I don’t support everything that Kendi says. The key thing is that sailors have to be able to think critically,’ Gilday argued.  

Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, also lashed out at Gilday, contrasting his reading list choice with the Navy’s recent vow to root out any ‘extremism’ in the ranks.

The 2019 book is popular with proponents of critical race theory

Do you consider opposition to interracial adoption an extremist belief?’ Banks asked, referring to Kendi’s September 2020 tweet suggesting Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a ‘white colonizer’ for adopting two Haitian children.

Gilday’s mic was off, making his response unclear, but Banks pressed on. 

‘Do you personally consider advocating for the destruction of American capitalism to be extremist?’ Banks asked, referring to Kendi’s assertion that capitalism and racism are ‘conjoined twins’ that must be eliminated together to root out racism. 

Gilday fired back: ‘I’m not forcing anybody to read the book, it’s on a recommended reading list.’

Pressed by Banks on whether he supported Kendi’s controversial views, Gilday went on: ‘I’d have to consider the context of the statement he made, I’m not going to sit here and defend cherry-picked quotes from somebody’s book.’

‘This is a bigger issue than Kendi’s book, what this is really about is trying to to paint the United States military, and the United States Navy as weak, as woke,’ Gilday said. ‘We are not weak, we are strong.’

Last month, Republican Senator reignited the attack against the ‘woke’ military by sharing a U.S. Army recruiting video that told the story of how a ‘little girl raised by two moms’ grew up to become a soldier.

The Texas senator triggered online fury after questioning the role of what he called an ’emasculated military’ and comparing it with a video that appeared to show a rugged, shaven-headed Russian recruit parachuting into combat.

‘The job of the military is to kill the bad guys. And it is to strike fear in the enemies of America,’ he told Fox News as he defended himself from accusations that he was unloading on serving U.S. troops.

‘People sign up to join the military because they want to keep us safe, they don’t want to sit around a circle, emoting and passing daisies back and forth.’

His comments highlight fears America’s armed forces are being softened by ‘woke’ principles and follows similar criticism of a CIA advert. 

The advertising campaign shows an animated Corporal Emma Malonelord (pictured) attending a gay rights parade in a video that sparked a row about the future of the American military. Sen. Ted Cruz said it showed how Democrats and the ‘woke media’ were turning soldiers into ‘pansies’ in comments that triggered accusations that he was trolling America’s troops

The new Army ad shows Corporal Emma Malonelord’s mothers getting married after one suffered serious injuries following a car accident 

In contrast, the Russian video shows a bare chested recruit leaping from his bed, working out and then leaping from a plane with a parachute

The Russian soldier is shown taking up a prone firing position, staring down his rifle scope in wintry, arctic conditions

The latest controversy features an American video telling the story of Cpl. Emma Malonelord, a serving soldier who describes how she came to choose a life in the military.

The colorful, animated recruiting video describ es how she defended freedom by attending LGBTQ marches and grew up to join the U.S. Army.

It achieved notoriety when Cruz tweeted out a TikTok clip, that opened with the Russian soldier leaping out of a plane before cutting to the animated story of Malonelord.  

‘Holy crap,’ he wrote in a tweet.

‘Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea….’ 

Cruz’s words quickly went viral, unleashing an angry torrent of accusations that he was trolling his own country’s American armed forces and had been suckered by an adversary’s propaganda.

And veterans expressed fury that he could criticize the Army and target a real-life serving soldier. 

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