Tom Bevan for RealClearMarket
Part 2 of my interview with former President Donald Trump. You can read Part 1 here.
U.S. Army Gen. Mark Millie, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on Tuesday and Wednesday. Millie had her first public appearance since quoting from a new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Coaster, which revealed a number of explosives, including the following:
- Milli indoctrinated himself into domestic politics through backchannel conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi where they called President Trump “crazy.”
- He told senior U.S. military commanders that they could not launch nuclear weapons without his permission.
- The JCS chairman made a secret phone call to his military counterpart in the People’s Republic of China, promising to warn him of any impending US attack.
While testifying this week, Millie defended her phone calls as fully coordinated and on board, and denied any suggestion that she was trying to usurp the president’s authority.
Related: Report: Millie blames Biden State Department for withdrawing Afghanistan
Millie’s name came up again and again in my interview with Donald Trump last week. After initially insulting him as “not a bright bulb,” Trump said he liked the general when he was in the White House, but Millie changed.
“Don’t forget, he wasn’t like that,” Trump said. “He did it because he was a politician. He tried to please Curry with Biden. I saw that he held his breath under pressure, and what stopped him from breathing was the television camera. He was really bad.”
Trump said it was a “bad idea” to keep Millie as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but when asked about other senior senior leaders in the military, he refused to let anyone else work alone.
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“They’re good people,” Trump said, referring to other generals who worked with him, “but they make really bad decisions.”
In the case of Afghanistan, Trump was adamant that his decision to end the war was the right one but insulted President Biden for coming out. “This is the most embarrassing moment in our country’s history,” Trump said, adding that if he had been in office, his administration would have handled it better.
Related: Video: Matt Gates warms up, tells General Millie he would have been fired if Biden hadn’t been so ‘addicted’
“For our escape,” Trump said, “raise your hand, surrender, and give them the best military equipment in the world without bullets. I was in their bay. We were leaving, too, but we were leaving with dignity and real victory.”
Despite the widespread popularity of the policy with the public, I asked Trump how much resistance he faced in Washington to end the war in Afghanistan.
“I had a lot of resistance from the army and I had a lot of resistance from Congress,” he said. “A lot of people in Congress didn’t want to leave. … They lived forever. We’ve been there 21 years, and I said 21 years is enough.
Trump was also irresistible in his criticism of former President George W. Bush, who recently returned to the news on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Passengers at the Pennsylvania Memorial who fought for control of United Airlines Flight 93 paid tribute to the “heroism and decency” faced by Bush Americans in the face of evil. He fired a thin veil at Donald Trump and many of his supporters, saying that domestic extremists, like the violent jihadist terrorists who invaded America in 2001, were “children of the same horrible spirit.”
For his part, Trump did not appreciate the swipe.
Related: George W. Bush
“George Bush’s people have no right to speak because he blew it up,” Trump denied. “Bush made the biggest mistake in our country’s history, going to the Middle East. We’ve spent trillions of dollars and millions of lives (counting both sides) and we’re far from the utopia they were looking for 21 years ago when we wanted it.” “It was a terrible decision to go to the Middle East, so when I hear him speak to the people, I don’t think he has the right to do it. He was a failed president.”
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
Tom Bevan is the co-founder and president of RealClearPolitics and co-author of “Election 2012: The Choice Time.”
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