Then-first lady Melania Trump sat in one of the Situation Room’s most important chairs during the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and offered former President Donald Trump advice after the attack, former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller reveals in his new book.
Melania Trump’s presence in the Situation Room was “unexpected,” and she entered as the president’s executive team was “waiting for the final assault” on al-Baghdadi, Miller wrote, according to an excerpt exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller.
“Secretary of Defense Mark Esper quickly gave up his seat and she sat down next to the President, who introduced her to us as if we didn’t know who she was. Her presence was unexpected, to say the least. I wondered how it would play in the press if word got out that the First Lady had popped in to watch a major military operation. Not my problem, I figured. And after all, it was her house,” Miller wrote in “Soldier Secretary: Warnings from the Battlefield & the Pentagon about America’s Most Dangerous Enemies,” set to hit shelves Feb. 7.
The first lady’s presence in the Situation Room has never been reported before. A photo released by the White House shows that Donald Trump was accompanied by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.
Miller, who was the senior director for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) at the time of al-Baghdadi’s death, is not pictured in the photo. Counterterrorism officials, however, have a precedent of being in the Situation Room during counterterrorism operations, including during the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Miller’s book offers insights to his time in the Trump administration leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, his three decades of military service, and what has happened to America’s military since 9/11.
Miller claims Donald Trump asked Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, deputy director for special operations on the Joint Staff, to bring the first lady “up to speed.”
After a discussion about what may happen, Evans told the group that the U.S. “assault force had unleashed their combat dog” into the building with al-Baghdadi, “with our commandos close behind,” Miller wrote. Al-Baghdadi was cornered and detonated a suicide vest, killing himself, his two children, and two of his wives.
“The assault force commander wouldn’t declare ‘Jackpot’—the code word announcing that Baghdadi was dead—until the body was inspected. They would also take some tissue to check for a DNA match once they got back to friendly territory. [Then-deputy national security advisor Matt] Pottinger and I knew that some poor kid was searching through the dust-and smoke-shrouded rubble with his helmet-mounted lamp and handheld flashlight, trying to find Baghdadi’s head,” according to Miller.
Miller recounts how Donald Trump then asked the group what would happen to the bodies, to which Milley responded that he would be buried at sea. Donald Trump pressed Milley on what would happen to the “two women” who were killed, and Milley suggested the bodies could be left there, according to Miller.
“Don’t you think ISIS will parade their bodies around and make it look like they were innocent?” Donald Trump asked, Miller wrote.
Evans then called U.S. Central Command and whispered in Milley’s ear, and Milley said that a “barrage of missiles would pulverize the building” where the operation took place, the book states.
Donald Trump asked the team how he should address the American people about the operation, according to Miller.
Melania Trump, to Miller’s surprise, “took over.”
“You should talk about the dog,” she said, Miller wrote. “Everyone loves dogs.” (RELATED: ‘GREAT JOB’ — President Trump Declassifies Photo Of Dog Involved In Killing ISIS Leader)
Donald Trump agreed.
He brought Conan the dog to the White House and gave him an award, saying he did “such a great job in capturing and killing the leader of ISIS.”
Donald Trump, Pence, O’Brien, Esper, Evans and Milley did not immediately answer to the Daily Caller’s inquiries about corroborating the details.