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Top US general Milley admits ‘mistake’ after Trump photo-op

Donald Trump walks with Mark Esper and Mark Milley (picture-alliance/AP Photo/P. Semansky)

“I should not have been there,” said Mark Milley, the most senior US military officer, after accompanying Donald Trump to a photo op following a protest in Washington, DC. He noted the army should stay “apolitical.”

After a photo op involving US President Donald Trump and the nation’s top military commander prompted outrage in the US, General Mark Milley said his appearance was a “mistake.”

“I should not have been there,” Milley, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the most senior military officer in the country, said on Thursday.

His comments come 10 days after Milley met with Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Washington, DC. At the meeting, Milley reportedly rejected Trump’s request to deploy active duty US troops to quell the unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd. After that, however, Milley accompanied Trump to a vandalized church at the city’s Lafayette Park, where Trump posed with a Bible. The general’s presence amid the unrest, and his attire — battle fatigues instead of the dress uniform usually worn for the White House visits — were slammed as a signal that the military was, in fact, supporting Trump and his threats of deploying it domestically.

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Reporters, including DW’s Alexandra von Nahmen, also noted that security forces used smoke bombs to clear out peaceful protesters and secure the area just ahead of the visit.


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