© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Gen. Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, speak at the 119th Army-Navy football game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Pho
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump on Thursday slammed the top U.S. general he had appointed after allegations in a new book that senior uniformed military leaders were deeply concerned about the potential for a coup after the November election and had discussed a plan to resign.
According to excerpts obtained by CNN from the upcoming book “I Alone Can Fix It,” written by two Washington Post journalists, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and other senior U.S. military leaders discussed resigning in the event they received orders they considered illegal or dangerous.
“I never threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government … If I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley,” Trump said in a statement.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had privately acknowledged concerns that Trump might attempt to draw in the military to quash dissent, as fears about Trump’s potential misuse of the Insurrection Act mounted.
A planned, orderly resignation by the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had not been previously reported.
Reuters could not independently confirm the account by the Post reporters and Milley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The publisher of the book declined to provide excerpts and did not confirm or deny the veracity of the CNN account.
Trump selected Milley for the top military position in 2018, despite then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis favoring the chief of the Air Force for the position.
Mattis resigned as defense secretary in 2018 over policy differences and since then Trump has branded him “the world’s most overrated general.”
“(Milley) got his job only because the world’s most overrated general, James Mattis, could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him,” Trump said in the statement.
Milley and Trump’s relationship deteriorated last year after the U.S. military officer publicly apologized for joining the president as he walked from the White House to a nearby church for a photo opportunity after authorities cleared the way of protesters using tear gas and rubber bullets.
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