Donald Trump’s final Pentagon chief has accused the former president of causing the “insurrection” at the Capitol with a speech to his supporters.
According to Breitbart, former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller told VICE on Showtime Thursday that it’s “pretty much definitive that wouldn’t have happened” without Trump’s Jan. 6 remarks.
“Cause and effect”
Trump was impeached in the final days of his presidency, then acquitted as a private citizen after a rapid trial, of the charge of causing an “insurrection” at the Capitol with his words earlier that day and in the months preceding by claiming the 2020 election was rigged against him.
Trump’s defenders have pointed out that he called on his supporters to “peacefully” make their voices heard. But Miller said Thursday that he found Trump’s speech “concerning” and agreed that he feels the former president was responsible for the violence that followed.
“I don’t know, but it seems cause and effect. Yeah. Would anybody have marched on the Capitol, and overrun the Capitol, without the president’s speech?” Miller asked, according to Breitbart.
“I think it’s pretty much definitive that wouldn’t have happened,” he added. “So yes, the question is, did he know he was enraging the crowd to do that? I don’t know.”
Miller served as Trump’s Pentagon chief on a temporary basis during the final months of his presidency. Trump hired Miller after abruptly firing Mark Esper, who had angered Trump by refusing to invoke the Insurrection Act in response to riots prompted by the death of George Floyd over the summer.
Trump and his generals
Trump consistently had a fractious relationship with some of his generals throughout his presidency. Former Secretary James Mattis, his first defense chief, infamously resigned in protest when Trump sought to withdraw troops from Syria.
Miller’s criticism comes months after Mattis authored an op-ed excoriating Trump for wanting to use military force against leftist rioters who terrorized cities over the summer.
Ironically, Trump has since come under fire for not deploying the military quickly enough in response to his supporters rioting at the Capitol. Trump and many of his allies have said that it is hypocritical to focus on Jan. 6 without taking the summer’s violence into consideration.
Miller, for his part, rejected as “complete hyperbole” the idea that America came the closest it ever has to a “military coup” in the events surrounding Jan. 6.
According to Politico, he also addressed criticism that he was slow to react. “It comes back to understanding how the military works. This isn’t a video game,” Miller said Thursday. “It’s not Halo, it’s not Black Ops, Call [of] Duty.”