Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that walking with President Donald Trump through Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church on June 1 “was a mistake.”
Milley delivered a pre-recorded address at a commencement ceremony for the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., during which he stated he “should not have been there.”
“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” he continued. “As a commissioned, uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.” (RELATED: Trump Walks Through Lafayette Square — Holds Up Bible For Photo-Op At St. John’s Church)
“We who wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation and we must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic.”
General Mark Milley apologizes for taking part in Trump’s Bible photo op outside the White House: “I should not have been there…It was a mistake.” pic.twitter.com/h8PIunEOCP
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 11, 2020
Milley joins a host of other top Defense officials who have broken from the president in recent days. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week that he does not agree with Trump’s vows to mobilize the military if governors fail to deploy National Guard troops to control George Floyd protesters. Trump reportedly wanted to fire Esper over the comments, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The president has also dug in his heels on potentially renaming military bases bearing names of Confederate Generals. On Wednesday, POTUS tweeted that he “will not even consider” the idea, despite Esper and Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy’s public signaling that they are open to renaming up to 10 bases.
Senate Republicans approved a motion Wednesday evening that gives the Army three years to come up with new names for the bases in question.
The White House did not immediately respond to Daily Caller’s inquiries on Milley’s statement.