The Pentagon was dragged deeper into the political fray Wednesday as the military’s top uniformed officer faced repeated questions about his view on “White rage” and whether he crafted private plans to stop President Trump from staging a coup to stay in power.
At what was supposed to be a routine Pentagon press conference, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tried to steer clear of controversial topics and focus instead on U.S. military support for the Afghan government, the secretary’s upcoming trip to Southeast Asia and other matters. But partisan battles and cultural fights over issues such as critical race theory largely consumed the discussion, offering further evidence of what analysts say is a new reality: The Pentagon can’t escape partisan politics, no matter how hard its leaders try.
That evidence was on full display Wednesday as Gen. Milley was pressed about his use of the term “White rage” as partial motivation for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, where a mob of Trump supporters interrupted the official counting of electoral votes. The tough-talking Army general waded into the issue during congressional testimony last month.