The book said Trump asked one of his aides why his generals couldn’t be like Hitler

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump told his top White House aide that he wished he had generals like those who reported to Adolf Hitler, saying they were “completely loyal” to the leader of the Nazi regime, according to a forthcoming book about the 45th president.

“Why can’t you be like the German generals?” Trump told John Kelly, his chief of staff, before questioning an obscenity, according to an excerpt from “The Divider: Trump in the White House” by Peter Baker and Susan Glaser, published online by The New Yorker on Monday. morning. (Mr. Baker is the chief White House correspondent for the New York Times; Ms. Glaser is a staff writer for The New Yorker.)

The excerpt depicts Mr. Trump as deeply frustrated with senior military officials, whom he considered disloyal or sufficiently obedient to him. In the conversation with Mr. Kelly, which took place years before the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the authors wrote, the chief of staff told Mr. Trump that Germany’s generals had “tried to kill Hitler three times and almost dragged him to the fire extinguishers.”

Mr. Trump was dismissive, according to the excerpt, apparently unaware of the history of World War II that Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star general, knows well.

The authors of the book answered: “No, no, no, they were completely devoted to him.” In his account of history, the generals of the Third Reich were completely subordinate to Hitler; This was the model he wanted for his army. Kelly told Trump that there are no such American generals, but the president is determined to test the proposal.”

Much of the excerpt focuses on General Mark A. Milley, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the country’s top military official, under Mr. Trump. When the chief offered him the job, General Meili told him, “I will do whatever you ask me to do.” But it quickly angered the president.

The general’s frustration with the president reached its climax on June 1, 2020, when black protesters filled a plaza in Lafayette Square, near the White House. Mr Trump demanded that the military be sent to evacuate the protesters, but General Milley and his top aides refused. In response, Mr. Trump shouted, “You are all losers!” According to the excerpt. Turning to Millie, Trump said, ‘Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?’

After the National Guard and police cleared the plaza, General Milley briefly joined the president and other aides in a walk through the empty park so Mr. Trump could be photographed in front of a church on the other side. The authors said that General Milley later considered his decision to join the president “a miscalculation that will haunt him forever,” a ‘moment on the road to Damascus,’ as he later described it.

A week after that incident, General Milley wrote – but never delivered – a scathing letter of resignation accusing the president he served of politicizing the military, “destroying the international order”, failing to appreciate diversity, and embracing tyranny, dictatorship and extremism. Members of the army swore to fight.

“I believe you have been doing great and irreparable damage to my country,” the general wrote in the letter, which has not previously been disclosed and was published in full by The New Yorker. General Milley wrote that Mr. Trump did not honor those who fought against fascism and the Nazis during World War II.

“It is now clear to me that you do not understand this world order,” General Milley wrote. “You don’t understand what the war was about. In fact, you support many of the principles we fought against. And I can’t be a party to that.”

However, General Meili eventually decided to remain in office so he could ensure the army would serve as a bulwark against an increasingly out of control president, according to the book’s authors.

According to the New Yorker excerpt, General Milley told his staff, “I’m just going to fight him.” The challenge, he saw, was to prevent Trump from doing more harm, while also acting in a manner consistent with his obligation to carry out the orders of his commander in chief. If they want my court martial, or put me in jail, do it.”

In addition to revealing General Milley, the book’s excerpt reveals new details about Mr. Trump’s interactions with his top military and national security officials and documents the radical efforts of the former president’s top aides to prevent a domestic or international crisis in the following weeks. He lost his bid for re-election.

In the summer of 2017, the book excerpt reveals, Mr. Trump returned from watching the Bastille Day parade in Paris and told Mr. Kelly he wanted one of his own. But the president said to Mr. Kelly, “Look, I don’t want any wounded on the show. That doesn’t sound good to me,” the authors wrote.

The excerpt continues: “Kelly couldn’t believe what he was hearing.” “These are the heroes,” he told Trump. “In our society there is only one group of people more heroic than them – and they are buried in Arlington.” Mr. Trump replied, “I don’t want them. According to the authors.

The excerpt highlights how many top aides to the president tried to burnish their reputations after the Capitol attack. Like General Milley, who has largely refrained from publicly criticizing Mr. Trump, they are now keen to clear their differences with him by collaborating with book authors and journalists.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has not publicly disputed Mr. Trump’s claims about the runaway election and has rarely criticized him since, privately dismissed the fraud assertions espoused by Trump and his advisers.

On the evening of November 9, 2020, after the race media contacted Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Mr. Pompeo called General Milley and asked to meet with him, according to the excerpt. During a conversation at the general’s kitchen table, Mr. Pompeo was candid about what he thought of the people around the president.

“The madmen have taken over,” Pompeo told General Milley, according to the authors. Behind the scenes, they wrote, Mr. Pompeo quickly accepted that the election was over and refused to promote its cancellation.

“He was totally against it,” a senior State Department official recalled. Pompeo sarcastically justified this blatant contradiction between what he said in public and in private. According to the excerpt, the senior official said, “It was important for him not to be fired at the end either, and to be there to the bitter end.”

The authors detail what they call an “extraordinary arrangement” in the weeks after the election between Mr. Pompeo and General Milley for daily morning phone calls with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, in an effort to make sure the president did. Don’t take serious action.

“Our job is to land this plane safely and make a peaceful transition of power on January 20,” the authors wrote. “This is our duty to this nation,” the authors wrote. “It is our duty to this nation,” the authors wrote. Both engines are out, and the landing gear is stuck. We’re in an emergency situation.”

January 6 hearings on Capitol Hill this summer revealed that a number of the former president’s top aides privately refused to deny his election, even with some refusing to do so publicly. Several, including Pat A. Cipollone, a former White House adviser, testified that they had tried — unsuccessfully — to convince the president that there was no evidence of significant fraud.

In the excerpt, the authors say that General Milley concluded that Mr. Cipollone was a “force” to try to maintain safety barriers around the president.” The general also believes that Mr. Pompeo was “really trying to achieve a peaceful handover of power,” the authors write. But they added that General Milley “was never sure what to do at Meadows. Was the chief of staff trying to land the plane or hijacking it?”

The authors wrote that General Milley is not the only official to have considered resigning in response to the president’s actions.

The book excerpt details private conversations between the president’s national security team as they discuss what to do in the event he tries to take measures they feel they can’t comply with. The authors state that General Milley consulted with Robert Gates, a former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Gates’ advice was blunt, with the authors writing: “Keep presidents on board and make it clear to the White House that if you go, they all go, so that the White House knows this isn’t just about firing Mark Milley. This is about all the Joint Chiefs of Staff resigning in response.” .

The excerpt makes it clear that Mr. Trump did not always get the supportive men he wanted. During an exchange in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump asked General Paul J. from july.

General Silva’s response, never reported before, was blunt — not what the president wanted to hear, according to the book’s authors.

“I didn’t grow up in the United States, I actually grew up in Portugal,” General Silva said. Portugal was a dictatorship – and the rallies were all about showing people who had guns. And in this country, we don’t. “This is not who we are,” he added.

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