Fox News’ Tucker Carlson unequivocally called for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley to be fired for serious and serial undermining of elected civilian leadership during the previous administration’s final months in office, including then-President Donald Trump himself.
On Thursday, Carlson began his opening monologue reminding viewers of an open letter a pair of former U.S. Army officers wrote to Milley, a four-star Army general who was appointed as Joint Chiefs chairman by Trump in December 2018.
Published in Defense One in August 2020, the letter, which quickly spread online and through cable news outlets, began, “If Donald Trump refuses to leave office, the United States military must remove him by force, and you must give that order.”
“You must remove the president by force,” Carlson said. “That was a little shocking. What country is this? Even the usual power-mad partisans in the national news media began to wonder if that was a good idea. Slate.com, of all places, reminded its readers that, no matter how orange Donald Trump might be, military coups generally turn out to be unwise.”
(Video: Fox News)
The Pentagon officially came out in opposition to the suggestion, Carlson noted, and the story of the letter faded.
“But if you thought about it for a second, you had to wonder: where did that idea even come from? Did two former military officers talk like that or think like that, and do a lot of them have views like that? Do a lot of them have these views?” Carlson asked.
“We pushed the thought from our minds. We shouldn’t have. Now we know that Mark Milley himself is the sort of person who considers military coups entirely within the realm of possibility,” he continued.
The host went on to cite from a newly published book by two Washington Post reporters “who cover Milley” and who describes him, Carlson said, as a “legitimate extremist” who can’t be trusted with power and authority.
The book’s authors say that Milley described Trump “and the millions who supported him as the moral equivalent of Adolph Hitler,” Carlson said, noting that the Joint Chiefs chairman reportedly referred to the tens of thousands of Americans who gathered in Washington, D.C., to hear Trump speak Jan. 6 — the day of the Capitol breach — as “‘brownshirts’ — the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party.” Milley reportedly also told his advisers that Trump’s claims of voter fraud “were actually calls for genocide,” Carlson said.
“Think about that. Your grandfather joined the U.S. military to risk his life fighting the Nazis. Now the head of the US military calls you a Nazi for having your grandfather’s political views. What do you think of that?” the host continued.
Carlson noted that despite those extreme views, leftist cable news hosts and contributors see nothing wrong with Milley’s comments as he went on to play clips from CNN and MSNBC segments.
“They’re easy to impress over on CNN. Make a reference to Nazis and the Reichstag Fire and you are really high-brow, grad-school history stuff. You hear someone compare his political enemies to Nazis, you know for sure he went to Princeton. Pretty funny,” said Carlson.
“So we’ve established that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is on the same intellectual plane as the midday newsreaders on CNN. The problem is, he’s a lot more powerful than they are,” he added.
Pivoting, Carlson said that, according to Washington Post reporting, it was Milley’s idea to ring Washington, D.C., with thousands of National Guard troops, razor wire, and metal fencing ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“We’re going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren’t getting in,” Milley reportedly said, according to Carlson.
“Everything’s going to be okay. We’re going to have a peaceful transfer of power. We’re going to land this plane safely. This is America. It’s strong. The institutions are bending, but it won’t break,” Milley reportedly added, according to the book.
After discussing Milley’s earlier testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in which he claimed to want to understand the “white rage” that led to the Capitol breach, Carlson went on to cite WaPo reporting that said Milley, soon after the November election, “began informally planning with other military leaders, strategizing how they would block Trump’s order to use the military in a way they deemed dangerous or illegal.”
“Now, wait a second. Is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the guy who’s empowered by our Constitution, our democracy, to make those decisions?” Carlson said.
“No, he’s not. We have civilian leadership, he can’t make them independently, if he disagrees, he can resign. But he can’t make them independently,” he added.
In another example of undermining the then-commander-in-chief, Trump, Carlson noted that Milley held discussions with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early January about “specifics” regarding the strategy sessions with his subordinates.
“She wanted to know what the generals had done to help her. She wanted to know that they were doing things that were illegal, taking control of the military from civilian-elected leaders. Milley confirmed that they had done just that,” Carlson said.
“‘Ma’am,’ Milley told Pelosi, ‘I guarantee you that we have checks and balances in the system,'” Carlson said, quoting the four-star general.
Carlson explained that some “checks and balances” that Milley was referring to “involved undermining the president’s authority to choose his own CIA Director.”
“When the president reportedly considered firing Gina Haspel who runs the CIA and replacing her with Kash Patel in the closing days of his administration, we now know that Milley pressured the president’s chief of staff not to do that, to keep Haspel,” Carlson reported. “‘What the hell is going on here?’ Milley asked Trump’s chief of staff. ‘What are you guys doing?'”
“This is lunacy, it’s not how the government is supposed to work, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs should not be having that conversation, expressing those views, he should leave if he can’t keep them to himself,” Carlson said, adding: “That quote there is grounds for Mark Milley’s immediate termination.”
“Mark Milley does not have any say over CIA appointees, no one in the military does. They can’t. Talk about a threat to our system,” said the host.
As the segment wrapped up, Carlson then noted that Milley and his Joint Chiefs staff took advantage of open-ended and ambiguous language to derail a peace deal the Trump administration had struck with the Taliban in Afghanistan as grounds for a U.S. pull-out after two decades of fighting.
Carlson suggested that Milley and the Joint Chiefs made the decision on their own to remain in the country despite Trump’s wishes as president and commander-in-chief.
“The head of U.S. Central Command, Kenneth MacKenzie, testified before Congress that the deal would be determined by ‘conditions on the ground’ — meaning, not by civilian leaders in Washington, but by the Pentagon. Again, a threat to democracy,” the host said.
“Acting unilaterally, the Pentagon launched more than 30 drone attacks and eight-night raids led by Special Operations forces against the Taliban. Within weeks, the peace deal was dead. They killed it,” he said.
“Ironically, preserving a ‘peace deal with the Taliban’ was the same justification Mark Milley used later — in late 2020 — to overrule Donald Trump’s order to pull out of Afghanistan. Milley told the president that it was only possible to remove half of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, not all of them,” he added.
Carlson went on to accuse much of the media of being uninterested in covering Milley’s involvement in pushing back, overtly and covertly, against the sitting president.
“The question is: why is Mark Milley still in command of the US military? This is not a small question. If what the Washington Post reporters are reporting is true, it’s a question we need to deal with right now,” he said.
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