If Chairman Of Joint Chiefs Of Staff Can Compare Trump To Hitler, So Can We
Books, what is it about books? Is it book season or something? Apparently it is! And apparently Donald Trump is MAD, even though he participated in interviews for pretty much all of them.
Today we're talking about what literally everybody is talking about, which is excerpts from the new book (Wonkette cut link) from Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, called I Alone Can Fix It. The book seems to cover a lot of the same ground as the books from Michael Wolff and Michael Bender, but Leonnig and Rucker are outstanding reporters, so it promises to give us a lot of new information. For example ...
Well, for example the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff literally compared Donald Trump to Hitler multiple times in the days surrounding the January 6 insurrection Trump incited! Yep, that's what the book says.
So that's something. Weren't we just learning how admiringly the former loser president had spoken of Hitler while in office? Yep, that was in Bender's book.
At the outset we'll note that Milley has been making a lot of news lately, for instance telling congressional Republicans to shove their whining about critical race theory up their whole ass. He's represented heavily in the new book from Michael Bender. And in the Leonnig/Rucker book, Milley is quoted a lot by name, unlike the 140-some-odd other sources who chose to speak off the record. Milley is on a redemption tour, obviously well-aware his time serving the Trump administration stained his good name. But hey, at least he's talking. And his associates are confirming what he's saying.
So ... Hitler!
If people as serious as the chairman of the literal actual freaking Joint Chiefs of Staff can call Trump Hitler, so can we. Why? Because Trump is a lot like Hitler.
In the waning weeks of Donald Trump's term, the country's top military leader repeatedly worried about what the president might do to maintain power after losing reelection, comparing his rhetoric to Adolf Hitler's during the rise of Nazi Germany and asking confidants whether a coup was forthcoming, according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters.
As Trump ceaselessly pushed false claims about the 2020 presidential election, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more nervous, telling aides he feared that the president and his acolytes might attempt to use the military to stay in office, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report in "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year."
Milley described "a stomach-churning" feeling as he listened to Trump's untrue complaints of election fraud, drawing a comparison to the 1933 attack on Germany's parliament building that Hitler used as a pretext to establish a Nazi dictatorship.
"This is a Reichstag moment," Milley told aides, according to the book. "The gospel of the Führer."
CNN's report on the book augments that:
Milley viewed Trump as "the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose," the authors write, and he saw parallels between Adolf Hitler's rhetoric as a victim and savior and Trump's false claims of election fraud.
Comparing Trump to Hitler's rise in 1930s Germany? Check. Using the Reichstag metaphor for any number of Trump's actions, and always worrying something real or manufactured would happen that the wannabe dictator would try to use as a pretext to become a real dictator? Check. Honestly, the only saving grace, every time things would get really scary during the Trump administration, was the sobering moment about three days into the crisis when everybody realized Trump was too stupid to successfully take advantage of or create a Reichstag Fire moment.
The Post writes that Milley "saw himself as one of the last empowered defenders of democracy during some of the darkest days in the country's recent history," and again, yes, something something "redemption tour," especially after Milley walked with Trump to Lafayette Square last year so he could hold up Bibles he's never read while priests got gassed. (He later said he was sorry for that and that he shouldn't have done it.)
Apparently Milley was seeing all the signs just after the election:
After attending a Nov. 10 security briefing about the "Million MAGA March," a pro-Trump rally protesting the election, Milley said he feared an American equivalent of "brownshirts in the streets," alluding to the paramilitary forces that protected Nazi rallies and enabled Hitler's ascent.
Late that same evening, according to the book, an old friend called Milley to express concerns that those close to Trump were attempting to "overturn the government."
"You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff," the friend told Milley, according to an account relayed to his aides. Milley was shaken, Leonnig and Rucker write, and he called former national security adviser H.R. McMaster to ask whether a coup was actually imminent.
"What the f--- am I dealing with?" Milley asked him.
So apparently in the coming weeks, Milley started talking with military brass about what they'd do if Trump started giving them clearly illegal HEREBY ORDERS. He was reportedly particularly worried when he saw Trump start firing everybody at the Defense Department and also Attorney General Bill Barr and replacing them with his own stupidest, most unqualified sycophants. (On November 11, Wonkette tried to put it all together to figure out if Trump was trying to mount a coup, or if he was sending his morons in to various departments to destroy evidence, or what. The more we learn, the more it sounds like the answer was, as we concluded at the time, probably ALL OF THEM, KATIE.)
Milley reportedly told his compatriots that if Trump's people tried to seize FBI, CIA or Defense, that "they may try, but they're not going to fucking succeed." CNN's report on the book adds that Milley said, "You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns." Apparently he got up in then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows's face at an Army-Navy game over rumors Trump was going to fire FBI chief Christopher Wray and then-CIA chief Gina Haspel.
The authors say, "It was a kind of Saturday Night Massacre in reverse," how Milley and others were planning on all resigning one at a time, if the illegal orders came down.
He reportedly reassured everybody who called him — members of Congress, people inside the Trump administration who were themselves freaked out that Trump was going to try to seize the military to preserve power — that everything was going to be OK, hell or high water. And if these accounts are true, we sure are glad for it.
The book says after January 6, Milley was on edge, preparing for what Trump's terrorists might try to do to the inauguration of Joe Biden:
Milley told a group of senior leaders, "Here's the deal, guys: These guys are Nazis, they're boogaloo boys, they're Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II. We're going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren't getting in."
And apparently once Joe Biden successfully said "I do" to America, Milley was extremely relieved that Milley had saved the day and Milley could go have ice cream because all the problems were solved.
Milley expressed his relief in the moments after Biden was sworn in, speaking to the Obamas sitting on the inauguration stage. Michelle Obama asked Milley how he was feeling.
"No one has a bigger smile today than I do," Milley said, according to Leonnig and Rucker. "You can't see it under my mask, but I do."
Vice President Kamala Harris, just after she was sworn in, also reportedly said to Milley, "We all know what you and some others did. Thank you." It sounds like a lot was going on behind the scenes, and Milley was indeed taking the calls from people terrified Donald Trump was going to literally destroy America to keep his power and preserve his wounded ego.
We ain't out of those woods yet, though, and we won't be for a very long time.
Other Bits 'n Pieces
There are other fun things, especially in CNN's excerpt. The book says Milley met regularly with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and that a few weeks before the November election, Pompeo told Milley on a visit to Milley's house that "the crazies are taking over." (Pompeo SWEARS TO JESUS that didn't happen, so it's probably true.)
Also there is this very good quote Liz Cheney said to Milley, about Jim Jordan: "That f**king guy Jim Jordan. That son of a b*tch." We agree with Liz Cheney again! Apparently during the Trump terrorist attack of January 6, Jordan tried to pull some sort of "Handmaid's Tale" commander shit about how they needed to get the women out of the aisles of Congress for their own protection, and Cheney told Milley this is what she said:
"While these maniacs are going through the place, I'm standing in the aisle and he said, 'We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.' I smacked his hand away and told him, 'Get away from me. You f**king did this.'"
Liz Cheney is still a fucking Cheney, but we're enjoying the mental image of her smacking Jim Jordan away and cussing him to his face.
This quote from Nancy Pelosi, about what might happen if somebody with Trump's inclinations who wasn't an absolute moron rose to power, is also fun:
"We might get somebody of his ilk who's sane, and that would really be dangerous, because it could be somebody who's smart, who's strategic, and the rest," Pelosi said. "This is a slob. He doesn't believe in science. He doesn't believe in governance. He's a snake-oil salesman. And he's shrewd. Give him credit for his shrewdness."
Indeed. And he's not going away, until or unless the proper law enforcement puts him away.
WONKETTE BOOK REVIEW OF BOOK WE HAVE NOT READ:
We might actually read this one, or at least buy it and put it on our shelf and forget. That's what books are for.
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