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Republicans plan to grill Gen. Mark Milley if they take back the House

By Amanda Caroline  •  September 14, 2022  •  22
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been cast in books about the Trump administration as a critic of the ex-president. He has received death threats from Trump supporters.
Image: Gen. Mark Milley
Gen. Mark Milley testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on April 7, 2022 in Washington.Win McNamee / Getty Images file
 
 

Former President Donald Trump’s allies in Congress are planning to use congressional investigations to put the spotlight on one of his most prominent critics — the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley — should Republicans take control of the House in November’s midterms, say six people familiar with the plans.

The plans include launching multiple lines of oversight that would position Republicans to grill Milley. They would cover the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, criticism that the military has become too “woke” during Milley’s tenure, and questions about military readiness that would focus on how he’s spending his time.

“For our members, he is a big lightning rod,” said a Republican familiar with the House GOP plans. “Republicans want answers on a lot of things, and Mark Milley, because of his position and public comments, including in books, is the person to answer.”

Milley has also been vilified by conservative media personalities like Tucker Carlson of Fox News, who has called him “stupid” and “a pig” and accused him of treason. And one Republican House candidate called for Milley to be executed on live television.

Over the past year, according to U.S. defense officials, Milley has received dozens of death threats from Trump supporters.

 

The officials said threats against Milley began after he defended a course at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point involving critical race theory by arguing that leaders need to understand different viewpoints and invoking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“I want to understand white rage, and I’m white,” Milley said during congressional testimony last June. “So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”

Since President Joe Biden took office, Milley has been cast in several books about the Trump administration as a sharp critic of the former president. 

In the books, for which Milley did hours of interviews, he is cited as defying some of Trump’s orders and comparing his actions to those of Hitler.

Two defense officials said Milley is aware of the GOP plans to investigate his actions, though he isn’t taking any additional steps to prepare for the oversight. The officials said such investigations could escalate threats against him, as well as other military leaders.

A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the Pentagon would be part of investigations if the GOP wins in November, and the top Republicans on the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees have requested that the Biden administration preserve documents relating to the Afghanistan withdrawal.

“If House Republicans are entrusted with the majority, we will conduct thorough oversight of the Biden administration’s actions and that includes those of the Department of Defense,” Mark Bednar said.

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