Gen. Mark Milley Complained Of Becoming Political ‘Lightning Rod’ After Defending CRT In The Military

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley complained he had become a “lightning rod of politicization” in testimony to Congress on his role in the government’s response to Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the capitol, according to recently released files.

Milley expressed frustration that his comments on wanting to “understand white rage” had generated political backlash, according to a transcript of his testimony, speaking to the House select committee in November of that year. Milley defended the military’s embrace of diversity policies and Critical Race Theory (CRT) during an interrogation from House Republicans that previous summer, saying he hoped to get to the bottom of “what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America.”

“I have become a lightning rod for the politicization of the military,” Milley told Congress’s investigative body on Jan. 6 in on Nov. 17, 2021. “I am constantly strung out, as an individual and also with Secretary Austin and others… .” (RELATED: Gen. Milley Allegedly Took Secret Action To Prevent Trump From Using Nuclear Weapons)

Milley cited the example of his “white rage” comments, a response to Republican criticism over U.S. military academies teaching CRT fundamentals, including that racism is systemic, as an example of where he and other senior Pentagon officials were being used as a punching bag for political frustrations, the transcript shows.

“So 90 seconds with Congressmen Gaetz and Waltz result in … 4, 5, 6 months of this constant drumbeat that is very damaging, in my view, personally, to the health of the Republic,” Milley said, referring to his June testimony. He cited a “deliberate” ploy to smear and politicize military leadership.

The U.S. top general stands by his statements in 2021, Col. David Butler, a spokesperson for Milley, told The Washington Post. Milley regularly consulted with former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs and Pentagon lawyers to execute his duties to the best of his ability, Butler said.

“We execute the lawful orders of the civilian leadership that’s appointed over us. The key is ‘lawful’ orders, and therein lie some judgment calls,” Milley said.

Doubling down on support for a nonpartisan military that avoids trying to exercise influence over political issues, Milley condemned a suggestion from retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, that Trump could declare martial law and order the U.S. military to oversee a re-vote for the 2020 election, the transcript shows.

Milley also expressed concern over an idea posed by Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria during the November testimony to restore Flynn to active duty and subsequently court martial him as punishment for supporting what Luria said amounted to a “coup.”

“I’m not saying it can’t be done or shouldn’t be done. I’m just saying that that would be a Presidential decision,” Milley said. Flynn had a “right” to say what he did, Milley added.

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