Ex-Vice President Mike Pence took issue with comments made by ex-President Donald Trump about the recently retired Gen. Mark Milley, formerly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling them “unjustifiable.”
Trump had appointed Milley as the 20th chairman during his term. However, their rapport deteriorated significantly in the latter part of Trump’s tenure and has since worsened. Trump recently hinted that Milley had acted traitorously during his final days as president. Addressing this during his retirement ceremony, Milley emphasized that the military swears allegiance to the Constitution, not any single individual or “aspiring dictator.”
Pence, speaking to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, remarked, “I can’t decipher whom Gen. Milley was alluding to, but Trump’s recent criticisms of Gen. Milley are unjustifiable.” Pence aligned himself with Milley’s sentiments regarding the military’s allegiance.
“The former vice president stated, “What Gen. Milley underlined about the commitment of our armed forces resonates with me.”
Lately, Trump has leveled significant accusations against Milley concerning the general’s talks with his Chinese equivalent during the closing stages of Trump’s presidency.
Gen. Milley had communicated twice with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, reassuring him that the U.S. had no intentions of instigating conflict. Detailed in “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, these interactions drew criticism from Trump and some other Republicans, even though Milley maintained they were routine.
Trump, on Truth Social, alleged that if media accounts were accurate, Milley was divulging insights into the U.S. President’s mindset to China. He suggested that such actions in earlier times would have been seen as high treason, with potential dire consequences.
Several defense authorities have voiced their disapproval of Trump’s statements, even as he continues to reiterate them.
On his retirement, Milley emphasized the distinctiveness of the U.S. military, noting its pledge to the Constitution rather than any specific entity or leader.
After the retirement event, Trump took to Truth Social to criticize Milley’s conversations with China and also lambasted his former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, for supporting him.
In response to Trump’s comments, Milley mentioned on CBS’s 60 Minutes that he’s had to take necessary precautions to safeguard himself and his kin. He noted that Trump’s criticisms weren’t just aimed at him but also the broader military institution.