Milley wrote a resignation letter ripping into Trump but never sent it, according to a new book.
The top US general wrote that Trump was doing "great and irreparable harm" to the US.
Milley also said Trump was "causing significant damage to our country overseas."
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tore into former President Donald Trump in a draft resignation letter that was never sent, according to a new book from Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, "The Divider."
"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," Milley said, per an excerpt of the book that was published by the New Yorker on Monday.
The letter was written in 2020 in the days that followed an infamous Trump photo-op in front of St. John's Church near the White House. The photo-op took place after law enforcement forcibly cleared people protesting police brutality and seeking racial justice from Lafayette Square — including using tear gas.
Milley was photographed in uniform moving through Lafayette Square with Trump and other officials after the protesters were pushed out of the area, prompting rampant criticism. Beforehand, Trump had threatened to deploy the military to quash nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by Minneapolis police.
"You are using the military to create fear in the minds of the people—and we are trying to protect the American people," Milley said in his letter, according to the book. "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."
Milley wrote in the letter that recent events had led him to do "deep soul-searching," adding that he could "no longer faithfully support and execute" the president's orders.
The top US general apologized in 2020 for appearing alongside Trump during the Lafayette Square incident. "I should not have been there," he said in a speech at the time. "My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created the perception of the military involved in domestic politics."
In his draft resignation letter, Milley accused Trump of not holding dear the values embodied in the Constitution.
"And lastly it is my deeply held belief that you're ruining the international order, and causing significant damage to our country overseas," Milley went on to say, adding, "And I cannot be a party to that. It is with deep regret that I hereby submit my letter of resignation."
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