WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that he would never have used the military to illegally seize control of the government after his electoral defeat. But he added that if he had tried to stage a coup, it would not have been with his main military adviser.
In a lengthy statement, Trump responded to revelations in a new book detailing General Mark Milley’s fears that the outgoing president could lead a coup in his final weeks in office. Trump affirmed that “he does not like coups” and that “he never threatened or spoke to anyone about carrying out a coup in our government.” But he also said that “if I had been willing to carry out a coup, one of the last people I would like to carry it out with is” with Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The mere mention of a coup is a surprising statement for a former president, especially since he left office in January under the cloak of a violent insurrection in the federal Capitol that he helped incite to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden. Since then, the FBI has warned of the rapidly growing threat of violent extremism within the country.
Despite those concerns, Trump maintains some control over the Republican Party. He met with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday and has stepped up his public agenda with political rallies in various parts of the country, in which he continues to spread the lie that last year’s election was stolen.
The former president’s comments on a coup were in response to the book “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year,” by the award-winning Washington Post journalists. Pulitzer Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. According to the book, Milley was dismayed by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat in the weeks after the election.
According to excerpts that CNN and the Post published on Wednesday before the text went on sale, Milley was very concerned that Trump or his allies would try to use the military to stay in power, due to which he and other top officials devised a strategy to block it, including a plan to resign one by one.
Milley would also have compared the speech of Trump with that of Adolf Hitler during his rise to power.