Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender's upcoming book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, hits stands (or your Kindle) on July 13, but extended previews have already dropped that pair nicely with current events. General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made headlines last week when he told Congress that "white rage" does in fact exist and is something he wants to understand, and not exploit like the Republicans smearing him as too “woke" to win wars.

Previous excerpts from Bender's book have revealed how Milley pushed back on Donald Trump's efforts to recreate Tiananmen Square in response to last summer's racial justice protests. Trump wanted the US military to shoot civilians "in the leg — or maybe the foot. But be hard on them!" Milley, who understood how guns worked and was also not a psychopath, said no. This infuriated the two-bit gangster president, who reportedly wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act and wage a scorched-earth campaign to suppress Americans' constitutional right to free assembly and redress of government. The overwhelming majority of protests last summer were peaceful, and local law enforcement, which Trump claimed to support, was capable of managing the small minority of protests that became violent (often because of police involvement). However, Trump was very strict about any riots he didn't personally incite.


Trump, who didn't understand how anything worked, decided he'd just put Milley in charge of the skull-cracking response. Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper were also present in the Situation Room when Trump lied about the level of violence at the protests. He's not a smart mob boss because he always makes his questionably legal requests in front of multiple witnesses.

Bender writes:

Privately, Milley confronted Trump about his role. He was an adviser, and not in command. But Trump had had enough.

"I said you're in fucking charge!" Trump shouted at him.

Ah, yes, the “shotgun" principle of military command. The conversation didn't improve from here.

"Well, I'm not in charge!" Milley yelled back.

"You can't fucking talk to me like that!" Trump said.

This sad shell of a man controlled the nuclear football but couldn't control his temper for longer than it takes to boil an egg. There are few descriptions of meetings with Trump where the one-term loser isn't flipping out on someone. Tantrums aren't a negotiation tactic. We all know Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, or Kamala Harris wouldn't act like this in the Situation Room, but Republicans will still praise Trump's supposed “leadership," when his administration spent more time managing Trump's fragile ego than the actual country.

"Goddamnit," Milley said to others. "There's a room full of lawyers here. Will someone inform him of my legal responsibilities?"

Barr promptly informed Trump that “the general is right." You'll have to wait until the book's released to learn how poorly Trump probably responded to this.

Of course, Trump denies this conversation took place, but he also denies the obvious results of last year's presidential election. No one should listen to anything that clown says. But we're actually fair and balanced around here so here's his BS statement:

This is totally fake news, it never ever happened. I'm not a fan of Gen. Milley, but I never had an argument with him and the whole thing is false. He never talked back to me. Michael Bender never asked me about it and it's totally fake news.

“He never talked back to me"? God, he's pathetic. It's obvious that Milley did in fact put Trump in his place, and all he could do was pout like a baby. He's embarrassed that Bender's book exposes him as a wannabe authoritarian strongman who no respectable person takes seriously. This gnawed at Trump so much that he later added to his statement: "If Gen. Milley had yelled at me, I would have fired him."

Sure, you would have, champ. That's exactly how you've rewritten reality in your head. As Mary Trump said, “No one tells as many lies on purpose" as Donald Trump.

Bender told Axios that the "exchange was confirmed by multiple senior administration officials during the course of hundreds of hours of interviews with dozens of top Trump World aides for this book."

Trump fired Esper after the election and he's currently smearing Barr. Both men are more likely to support Bender's account than prop up an awful man's sad lies.

[The Guardian / Axios]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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