Why did Trump purge civilian leadership at the Pentagon? There is a great deal of speculation about why Trump did that. The most disturbing was the speculation that Trump fired Esper because he intended to use the active military to put down demonstrations against him post-election... calling it an "insurrection".
- “In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law U.S. courts and the U.S. Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the U.S. military. I foresee no role for the U.S armed forces in this process.”
- When asked whether the armed forces would reject a presidential order to use military force for political gain, Milley said, “I will not follow an unlawful order.”
The big picture: This marks the second time that Milley has recently stressed the nonpartisan nature of the U.S. military.
- He apologized in June for attending Trump's photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church, saying, "I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military VWell, I've reminded people of that for years, you know, for four years as the chief of staff of the Army and in many years before that during reenlistment ceremonies, promotion ceremonies. I always talk about the Constitution and its importance to us as a military in that we - of all the countries in the world, I think that we are the only one - or at least one of the very few - that swears an oath of allegiance to an idea that's embedded in a document called the U.S. Constitution. We don't swear an oath of allegiance to an individual, a king, a queen, a president or anything else ....We don't swear an oath of allegiance to a country, for that matter. We don't swear an oath of allegiance to a flag, a tribe or religion or any of that. We swear an oath to an idea or a set of ideas and values that are embedded in our Constitution. And we, the U.S. military, are willing to die for - to preserve those ideas and values. And we're willing to die in order to preserve them and pass them onto the next generation. So - and they're all in the Constitution. They're all fundamental to the Constitution."
- October 11, 2020, interview on NPR https://www.npr.org/transcripts/922827554 ""This isn't the first time that someone has suggested that there might be a contested election," Milley said. "And if there is, it'll be handled appropriately by the courts and by the U.S. Congress. There's no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election. Zero. There is no role there."