Trump has street smarts; he's sly and savvy-- sly and savvy enough to harness his narcissism and selfish nature and ride them into the GOP nomination and then into the White House, albeit against the most disliked candidate the Democrats have ever nominated. But Trump is also a moron, in fact more of a moron that many of us even realized. The latest indication of Trump's leaky brain came yesterday after he read the gossipy reports that the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley had... well, what exactly? Trump-- not to mention extremist ideologues Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Andy Biggs-- jumped to his own conclusions.
Trump released one of his clownish-- and false-- statements on his blog last night:
If the story of “Dumbass” General Mark Milley, the same failed leader who engineered the worst withdrawal from a country, Afghanistan, in U.S. history, leaving behind many dead and wounded soldiers, many American citizens, and $85 Billion worth of the newest and most sophisticated Military equipment in the world, and our Country’s reputation, is true, then I assume he would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification “of an attack.” Can’t do that!
The good news is that the story is Fake News concocted by a weak and ineffective General together with two authors who I refused to give an interview to because they write fiction, not fact. Actions should be taken immediately against Milley, and better generals in our Military, of which we have many, should get involved so that another Afghanistan disaster never happens again. Remember, I was the one who took out 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. Milley said it couldn’t be done!
For the record, I never even thought of attacking China-- and China knows that. The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad. In fact, I’m the only President in decades who didn’t get the U.S. into a war-- a well known fact that is seldom reported.
Trump is now demanding that all his allies who are TV and radio regulars-- or who have social media followings-- put his statement into their own words and read it on the air, using the words "arrest" and "treason." The first to jump were Ohio lickspittles and no-fascist Senate candidates, the Bobbsey Twins (Josh Mandel and JD Vance).
Trump went on Newsmax himself to carry on about treason. Señor Trumpanzee told his former p.r. person, Sean Spicer "I’ve had so many calls today saying that’s treason." The other Trump. p.r. Sean, Hannity, also parroted the statement: "If this is true, General Milley would be a traitor to this country and should be tried for treason immediately. If true, he should be fired and tried for treason immediately." He had the Fox art department prepare a graphic of Benedict Milley."
The Washington Post, promoting the book that two of their reporters, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, and that's coming out in a few weeks, reported that after Trump's attempted January 6 coup, Milley "was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies." He was worried that Trump might "go rogue... ou never know what a president's trigger point is."
Two days after Trump's coup had failed, Milley, called together senior military officials in charge of the National Military Command Center in his office to review the process for military action, including launching nuclear weapons. He was clear that the procedure means the order to launch nuclear weapons had to come from the president, not from one of his lackeys. Only Trump himself could order a launch and that Milley himself as head of the Joint Chiefs was part of the process. "No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I'm part of that procedure," he told the officers who he then asked to verbally confirm that they understood what he was saying.
CNN reported that "Milley's fear was based on his own observations of Trump's erratic behavior. His concern was magnified by the events of January 6 and the 'extraordinary risk' the situation posed to US national security, the authors write. Milley had already had two back-channel phone calls with China's top general, who was on high alert over the chaos in the US." Keeping in touch with his counterparts in all major military powers is a regular part of Milley's job; reassuring China that they weren't about to be nuked by a deranged president is a normal function for someone in his position.
Then Milley received a blunt phone call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to the book. Woodward and Costa exclusively obtained a transcript of the call, during which Milley tried to reassure Pelosi that the nuclear weapons were safe.
Pelosi pushed back.
"What I'm saying to you is that if they couldn't even stop him from an assault on the Capitol, who even knows what else he may do? And is there anybody in charge at the White House who was doing anything but kissing his fat butt all over this?"
Pelosi continued, "You know he's crazy. He's been crazy for a long time."
According to Woodward and Costa, Milley responded, "Madam Speaker, I agree with you on everything."
After the call, Milley decided he had to act. He told his top service chiefs to watch everything "all the time." He called the director of the National Security Agency, Paul Nakasone, and told him, "Needles up ... keep watching, scan." And he told then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, "Aggressively watch everything, 360."
The authors write, 'Milley was overseeing the mobilization of America's national security state without the knowledge of the American people or the rest of the world.'
Woodward and Costa also write that 'some might contend that Milley had overstepped his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself,' but he believed his actions were 'a good faith precaution to ensure there was no historic rupture in the international order, no accidental war with China or others, and no use of nuclear weapons.'
Milley's fear that Trump could do something unpredictable came from experience. Right after Trump lost the election, Milley discovered the President had signed a military order to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021, before he left the White House.
The memo had been secretly drafted by two Trump loyalists. No one on the national security team knew about it, according to the book. The memo was eventually nullified, but Milley could not forget that Trump had done an end run around his top military advisers.
Woodward and Costa write that after January 6, Milley 'felt no absolute certainty that the military could control or trust Trump and believed it was his job as the senior military officer to think the unthinkable and take any and all necessary precautions.'
Milley called it the 'absolute darkest moment of theoretical possibility,' the authors write.
...When Trump refused to concede in November 2020, Haspel warned Milley, "We are on the way to a right-wing coup. The whole thing is insanity. He is acting out like a six-year-old with a tantrum." Haspel also worried that Trump would try to attack Iran.
"This is a highly dangerous situation. We are going to lash out for his ego?" she asked Milley, according to the book.
...Peril offers a behind-the-scenes account of Trump's refusal to concede the election and how those around him tried-- and failed-- to contain his desperation.
On November 4, the day after the election, Trump seemed privately ready to acknowledge defeat, asking adviser Kellyanne Conway, "How the hell did we lose the vote to Joe Biden?" But after making phone calls to loyalists, including Rudy Giuliani, Trump embraced the false and damaging conspiracy theories of election fraud.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump took a light touch, the authors write, and Kushner told aides he did not want to be the point person for an intervention. Then-Attorney General William Barr tried to talk sense into Trump, telling him the claims of fraud were bogus. "The problem is this stuff about the voting machines is just bullshit," Barr said, according to the book.
"Your team is a bunch of clowns," he told Trump.
According to the book, a key figure from Trump's earliest days as president reemerged: former White House adviser Steve Bannon. The authors write that Bannon, who had been indicted in April 2020 and later pardoned by Trump, played a critical role in the events leading up to January 6.
On December 30, Bannon convinced Trump to come back to the White House from Mar-a-Lago to prepare for the events of January 6, the date Congress would certify the election results.
"You've got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today," Bannon told Trump, according to the book. "You've got to call Pence off the fucking ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis."
The authors write that Bannon told Trump that January 6 was "the moment for reckoning."
"People are going to go, 'What the fuck is going on here?' " Bannon believed. "We're going to bury Biden on January 6th, fucking bury him," Bannon said.
...According to the authors, Trump ignored repeated requests by both staff and his daughter Ivanka Trump to call off the rioters at the Capitol on January 6.
In one episode, retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, who served as Pence's national security adviser, was in the White House with Trump while he watched the insurrection unfold on television.
Kellogg urged Trump to act.
"You really should do a tweet," Kellogg said, according to the authors. "You need to get a tweet out real quick, help control the crowd up there. This is out of control. They're not going to be able to control this. Sir, they're not prepared for it. Once a mob starts turning like that, you've lost it."
"Yeah," Trump said. The authors write, 'Trump blinked and kept watching television.'
Ivanka Trump also repeatedly tried to intervene, talking to her father three times. "Let this thing go," she told him. "Let it go," she said, according to the book.
...The book also reveals that Trump is still angry with Republicans who blamed him for the insurrection, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
"This guy called me every single day, pretended to be my best friend, and then, he fucked me. He's not a good guy," Trump said, according to the book.
While McCarthy has walked back his initial comments after the insurrection, Trump is quoted as dismissing McCarthy's attempts to get back into his good graces.
"Kevin came down to kiss my ass and wants my help to win the House back," Trump said, according to the authors.