Milley responds to Trump execution comments: ‘It’s a free country’

US

Retired Gen. Mark Milley, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to trade barbs with former President Trump Tuesday after being reminded of Trump’s social media post last year saying he should be executed.

Trump said in September 2023 that Milley committed treason and should be put to death, threats that raised fears Trump would use a second term in the White House to seek retribution against his political enemies.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) questioned Milley, during a House Foreign Affairs hearing on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I don’t agree with the comments, but it’s a free country and people can say what they want. With all due respect, guys, I’m here for the families of Abbey Gate,” Milley said, referring to the 13 U.S. soldiers killed during the withdrawal. “I’m here for the families of those that served in Afghanistan.”

“And I’ll leave those comments- as much as I don’t care for those comments, don’t agree with them. They have a right to say them,” he continued. “But I’d like to stay focused on these families.”

During his retirement speech days after Trump’s threat, Milley dubbed the former president a “wannabe dictator.”

“We are unique among the world’s militaries. We don’t take an oath to a country. We don’t take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king, or a queen, or to a tyrant or a dictator,” Milley said.

“And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator,” he continued. “We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America — and we’re willing to die to protect it.”

Milley, a Trump appointee, often clashed with the former president over use of force and appropriate military response. The pair notably disagreed over the incident in front of St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., in June 2020 during protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

The general walked with Trump to the church dressed in his combat fatigues, later apologizing for creating “a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”

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