Trump critical of Joint Chiefs Chair over critical race theory

Former President Trump is lashing out at Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, following Milley’s defense of studying critical race theory on Capitol Hill this week.

During an interview with Newsmax, Trump railed against the academic framework that has become a recent target of top Republicans across the country and called Milley’s testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services Wednesday “sad.” 

“General Milley, I watched his statement, it was pathetic,” Trump said. 

“I watched the statements of some others, your head of the Navy, it was pathetic. And they didn’t talk that way when I was around, I can tell you. They didn’t talk that way or I would’ve gotten rid of them in 2 minutes,” he said. 

The former president also claimed critical race theory was terminated "very strongly” during his time as president and has only made a comeback since President Biden took over six months ago. 

Trump’s comments come after Milley pushed back against the assertion that critical race theory and other such teachings could be damaging, noting that service members should be well read. 

“I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read...and it is important that we train and we understand,” Milley said. 

“I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin,” Milley said during the hearing.

“That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country from which we are here to defend?”

“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our noncommissioned officers, of being ‘woke’ or something else because we are studying some theories that are out there,” he said. 

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Milley’s comments were in response to several lines of questioning from Florida Reps. Matt Gaetz and Michael Waltz about critical race theory in the U.S. military, criticizing reports the U.S. Military Academy teaches a course involving the theory. Milley noted that the academy is a university. 

The academic concept that has been around for more than four decades poses the idea that racism is a pervasive issue that is steeped in U.S. society and legal systems. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers during the hearing that the military does not “teach” or “embrace” the theory. 

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