U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a histrionic resignation letter to then-President Donald Trump after federal officials cleared rioters out of Lafayette Square back in the summer of 2020.
Then-Attorney General William Barr dismissed claims by the mainstream media that those in Lafayette Park were “peaceful protesters.” Barr noted that the rioters repeatedly assaulted police by throwing bricks and flammable liquids at the officers.
“There were fires set in not only St. John’s Church, but a historic building at Lafayette was burned down,” Barr said. “They broke into the Treasury Department … and they were injuring police.”
Barr further noted that what the media was missing about the incident was that “this was not an operation to respond to that particular crowd, it was an operation to move the perimeter one block.”
A year later, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed a number of claims leveled at Trump, Barr, and other U.S. government officials over what Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union claimed was an unnecessary show of force in Lafayette Square.
Milley’s resignation letter, which he never submitted, reportedly stated:
I regret to inform you that I intend to resign as your Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Thank you for the honor of appointing me as senior ranking officer. The events of the last couple weeks have caused me to do deep soul-searching, and I can no longer faithfully support and execute your orders as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is my belief that you were doing great and irreparable harm to my country. I believe that you have made a concerted effort over time to politicize the United States military. I thought that I could change that. I’ve come to the realization that I cannot, and I need to step aside and let someone else try to do that.
Second, you are using the military to create fear in the minds of the people—and we are trying to protect the American people. I cannot stand idly by and participate in that attack, verbally or otherwise, on the American people. The American people trust their military and they trust us to protect them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and our military will do just that. We will not turn our back on the American people.
Third, I swore an oath to the Constitution of the United States and embodied within that Constitution is the idea that says that all men and women are created equal. All men and women are created equal, no matter who you are, whether you are white or Black, Asian, Indian, no matter the color of your skin, no matter if you’re gay, straight or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew, or choose not to believe. None of that matters. It doesn’t matter what country you came from, what your last name is—what matters is we’re Americans. We’re all Americans. That under these colors of red, white, and blue—the colors that my parents fought for in World War II—means something around the world. It’s obvious to me that you don’t think of those colors the same way I do. It’s obvious to me that you don’t hold those values dear and the cause that I serve.
And lastly it is my deeply held belief that you’re ruining the international order, and causing significant damage to our country overseas, that was fought for so hard by the Greatest Generation that they instituted in 1945. Between 1914 and 1945, 150 million people were slaughtered in the conduct of war. They were slaughtered because of tyrannies and dictatorships. That generation, like every generation, has fought against that, has fought against fascism, has fought against Nazism, has fought against extremism. It’s now obvious to me that you don’t understand that world order. You don’t understand what the war was all about. In fact, you subscribe to many of the principles that we fought against. And I cannot be a party to that. It is with deep regret that I hereby submit my letter of resignation.