Furious Trump wanted to recall retired military men, including Stanley McChrystal, to active duty so he could court-martial them for being “so disloyal,” says Mark Esper
- Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said former President Donald Trump wants to recall retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Admiral William McRaven
- Trump presented a conspiracy to Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley to recall McChrystal and McRaven for a court-martial
- The former president was “spun out” over a Breitbart report that said McChrystal was using software developed by DARPA to track Trump supporters online
- Trump was also angered by McRaven’s anti-Trump remarks, including a 2019 op-ed he wrote for the New York Times
Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said former President Donald Trump wants to recall retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Admiral William McRaven to active duty for a court-martial after they criticized him.
“Doing this will backfire, Mr. President,” we said,” Esper recalled in his new book, A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times, after Trump pitched the plan to Esper and the chairman the Department of Defense had passed the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.
Esper wrote that Trump only backed down after Milley’s promise[ed] that he would call the officers personally and ask them to call back.’
Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (right) writes in his new book that former President Donald Trump (left) wanted to recall retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Admiral William McRaven to active duty for a court-martial after they criticized him
Trump was angered that General Stanley McChrystal (left) and Admiral William McRaven (right) were “so disloyal” and told Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he wanted to court-martial them
Trump had complained to Esper and Milley that the two retired generals were “so disloyal”.
Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wrote about the May 2020 meeting with Trump in his new book
Trump voiced his war conspiracy in May 2020 while running for re-election.
Breitbart News ran a story on May 4 that said McChrystal had advised a group that advised DARPA-developed technology to “identify and counter online narratives of Islamic extremists” to target Trump supporters instead.
Breitbart said the tool is being used to “track and counter Trump supporters on social media.”
McChrystal retired from the military in 2010 after giving an interview to Rolling Stone and criticizing government officials, including then-Vice President Joe Biden.
McChrystal did not endorse Biden, by then the Democratic nominee for 2020, but Trump was still upset.
“It upset the president,” Esper said in his book.
“Next thing I knew, Mark Milley and I were sitting in front of the President trying to talk him out of recalling McChrystal to active duty,” he explained.
McRaven, who oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, also drew Trump’s ire over a series of critical statements by the then-president.
McRaven, for example, penned a New York Times op-ed in October 2019 denouncing Trump for attacking the US “from within.”
“As I stood on the parade ground at Fort Bragg, a retired four-star general grabbed my arm, shook me, and yelled, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!'” McRaven recalled in the piece .
Esper wrote: “The President told Milley and I that he “wants[ed] recall them to active duty and court-martial ‘for what they said.’
Talking Point’s memo reported that McChrystal, who was emailed, did not recall receiving a call from Milley to tone down his rhetoric about Trump.
The retired general told the website, “There wasn’t a phone call that I recall,” and I would have remembered.”
McRaven could not be reached by the publication for comment.