John Kelly, the former Chief of Staff for Donald Trump revealed a telling — and chilling— comment that his former boss made to him according to a new book by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, The New York Times reports.
According to Kelly, Trump told him that he wished his top Pentagon generals were more like those who reported to Adolph Hitler during the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. Trump praised the Nazi generals as “totally loyal” to Hitler, just as he wanted his generals to obey him unconditionally.
“Why can’t you be like the German generals?” Trump asked Kelly, a former Marine Corps general himself, according to an excerpt from Baker and Glaser’s The Divider: Trump in the White House, posted by The New Yorker.
Kelly says he was taken aback by Trump’s comments, made early in his term, and tried to educate the historically-lacking then-president on how Hitler’s generals really responded to their genocidal authoritarian leader, reminding him that German generals had “tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off.”
Naturally, as someone who has incredible difficulty ever admitting that he was wrong, Trump dismissed Kelly’s accurate rendition of historical fact in favor of his own misguided belief system.
“‘No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,’ the president replied,” The Divider: Trump in the White House reads. “In his version of history, the generals of the Third Reich had been completely subservient to Hitler; this was the model he wanted for his military. Kelly told Trump that there were no such American generals, but the president was determined to test the proposition,” The New York Times quotes Baker and Glaser as writing.
The Divider: Trump in the White House goes on to reveal a previously unpublished resignation letter from Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump, that the Pentagon leader wrote — but eventually backed down from delivering — after he was dragged into the shameful photo-op with Trump holding a Bible in front of a church near Lafayette Square after the area was violently cleared of BLM demonstrators.
In the letter, Milley accused Trump of “politicizing the military, ‘ruining the international order,’ failing to value diversity, and embracing the tyranny, dictatorship, and extremism that members of the military had sworn to fight against,” according to The New York Times.
“It is my belief that you were doing great and irreparable harm to my country,” General Milley wrote.
Accusing Trump of dishonoring the military veterans who fought against Hitler and fascism, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman attacked Trump’s intelligence and his loyalty to democracy.
“It’s now obvious to me that you don’t understand that world order,” Milley stated. “You don’t understand what the war was all about. In fact, you subscribe to many of the principles that we fought against. And I cannot be a party to that.”
The fact that Milley chose to keep the letter to himself rather than submitting that resignation demonstrates just how concerned he was that he’d be needed to counteract any insanity that Trump could conjure in his remaining time in office.
That he didn’t manage to do anything about Trump’s seditious plot to steal the election through a MAGA-powered attack on Congress makes Milley’s reasoning somewhat suspect, but it’s not like Trump didn’t continue with actions that betrayed his fascist tendencies.