Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley on Wednesday refused to comment on a recent book that claims he feared that then-President Donald Trump and his supporters might make a coup attempt, prompting Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to defend the general.
"I'm not going to comment on what's in any of those books," Milley said multiple times when asked about the reports during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. He instead focused on reiterating that he always followed his oath as a military officer to provide the best advice possible to the president.
"I always personally provided the best military professional advice to President Trump previously, to President Biden or any other president,” he said.
"I want you to know, and I want everyone to know, I want America to know, that the United States military is an apolitical institution,” Milley added. “We were then; we are now. And our oath is to the Constitution, not to any individual at all. And the military did not and will not and should not ever get involved in domestic politics. We don't arbitrate elections. That's the job of the judiciary and the legislature and the American people. It is not the job of the US military. We stayed out of politics. We're an apolitical institution."
Austin then noted that he has “tremendous faith and confidence” in Milley.
“I’ve known the chairman for a long time. We’ve fought together. We’ve served a couple of times in the same units,” the secretary said. “I’m not guessing at his character. He doesn’t have a political bone in his body.”
Austin also said he’d like to focus on preparing for future threats against the country, and noted that he’s looking forward to his upcoming visit to Southeast Asia, where he’ll travel to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Milley went on to address a question about critical race theory, saying that "Critical race theory is not something that this department teaches, professes, embraces. You’ve also heard a couple of people at academic institutions say that they have required this to be reading for their students in specific courses. But because that’s the case does not mean that this department embraces this theory."
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