According to an excerpt from Peter Baker and Susan Glasser's yet-to-be-released new book, "The Divider: Trump In The White House," Gen. Mark Milley was stunned when he found out how out of control and unreasonable former President Donald Trump was after being appointed to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
His moment of realization came after watching a heated conversation between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Trump that led to a moment -- captured in an iconic White House photograph -- where Pelosi stood up, and pointed her finger at Trump and lectured him before leaving the briefing room.
According to the report, Pelosi reportedly told Trump, "All roads with you lead to Putin. You gave Russia Ukraine and Syria,” which led the former president to shout back, "You’re just a politician, a third-rate politician!”
After House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) interceded and joined Pelosi in standing and stated, “This is not useful,” Trump, called after them, "We’ll see you at the polls.”
Upon her departure, Pelosi told the waiting press that Trump had had a "meltdown," which made Trump tweet out the photo of Pelosi standing over him, insisting that it was she who had flipped out, but instead was perceived by the public at large that she had stood up to him.
According to the book, while all of this played out, Milley lowered his head and stayed out of the fray, with Baker and Glasser writing, "Milley could also be seen in the photograph, his hands clenched together, his head bowed low, looking as though he wanted to sink into the floor. To Pelosi, this was a sign of inexplicable weakness, and she would later say that she never understood why Milley had not been willing to stand up to Trump at that meeting."
The report notes that Milley already had his suspicions about what he had gotten himself into after being warned by former White House chief of Staff John Kelly to stay far away from Trump.
According to the book, "That night, he [Milley] called Representative Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat and the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who had also been present. 'Is that the way these things normally go?' Milley asked. As Smith later put it, 'That was the moment when Milley realized that the boss might have a screw or two loose.' There had been no honeymoon. 'From pretty much his first day on the job as chairman of the Joint Chiefs,' Smith said, 'he was very much aware of the fact that there was a challenge here that was not your normal challenge with a Commander-in-Chief.'"
You can read more excerpts here.
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