Sen. Tom Cotton Thursday commended Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley for apologizing for walking alongside President Donald Trump's side to St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington for a photograph after authorities dispersed Lafayette Square protesters with pepper spray and rubber bullets.
"(He) thinks that the perceptions are reflected negatively from the commander in chief all the way down to our young troops who are out in Lafayette Park or on the streets of Washington DC last week," the Arkansas Republican, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iran, as well as a platoon leader with the "Old Guard" at Arlington National Cemetery, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "He's going to take responsibility for that as a military leader. I commend him for that and we all should."
The four-star general, in a prerecorded video commencement address to National Defense University, said "I should not have been there" about the June 1 appearance.
Milley's friends have said he'd also agonized about appearing in the combat fatigues he wears every day to work while being behind Trump during the walk across the historic square, reports The New York Times. Critics have said his attire gave an appearance of the military's approval of the methods used to clear away protesters.
"Gen. Milley is an outstanding military officer with a distinguished record and we are all very fortunate to have him as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," said Cotton.
"I know one thing that Gen. Milley regrets is that he was at the White House in his camouflage utility uniform," he added. "By custom and courtesy, military officers always wear dress uniforms there. But, he was actually on the way to the command center downtown and was dressed in the same uniform that all of his troops in the street were dressed in."
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