"Chilling": 4 of the most shocking revelations from a new book about Trump's war with his generals

The New Yorker published an excerpt from the new book “The Divider: Trump in the White House”

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor
Published August 8, 2022 6:06PM (EDT)
Updated August 9, 2022 10:00AM (EDT)
General John Kelly, Former President Donald Trump and General Mark Milley (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
General John Kelly, Former President Donald Trump and General Mark Milley (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

A new crop of books about Donald Trump and his final days in office is set to be published in the coming months. One such book, "The Divider: Trump in the White House," from veteran reporters Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, was excerpted in The New Yorker on Monday morning, complete with a previously unpublished resignation letter from General Mark Milley, Trump's final chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

After mostly refraining from publicly criticizing Trump, top Trump officials are now running to make their disagreements with him clear. In response, Trump now says the men who he once boasted were "my generals" are "very untalented people and once I realized it, I did not rely on them, I relied on the real generals and admirals within the system."

As the Executive Editor at Texas National Security Review noted, the excerpt paints an image of a Trump White House that is "chilling."

Here are the 4 most explosive revelations from the excerpt into Trump's war with his generals. 

"Why can't you be like the German generals?"
As many probably imagined was uttered during his White House tenure, Donald Trump reportedly searched for ways to be more like Adolf Hitler. 

"You fucking generals, why can't you be like the German generals?" a frustrated Trump reportedly asked his chief of staff, John Kelly. 


"Which generals?" Kelly asked.


"The German generals in World War II," Trump responded.


"You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?" Kelly reminded the president.


"No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him," Trump insisted.


After Trump demanded the military be sent in to clear the Black Lives Matters protesters, Trump's generals refused.

"You are all losers! You are all f***ing losers!" Trump lashed out, according to the book. "Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?"
"Look, I don't want any wounded guys in the parade. This doesn't look good for me"
After returning from his trip to France in 2017, Trump raved about the Bastille Day parade in Paris and told Kelly, "You are going to be doing this next year." 
As was reported at the time, Trump ordered his people to immediately get to work on planning the "biggest, grandest military parade ever for the Fourth of July." Trump had a very specific aesthetic in mind for his military parade.
"Look, I don't want any wounded guys in the parade," Trump made clear to Kelly about the members of the armed services selected to participate. "This doesn't look good for me."

"Those are the heroes,' Kelly told Trump. "In our society, there's only one group of people who are more heroic than they are — and they are buried over in Arlington."


Trump reportedly remained unmoved: "I don't want them. It doesn't look good for me."

Gen. Milley's unsent resignation letter
The New Yorker published a resignation letter from Gen. Mark Milley, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the country's top military official, in its entirety.  But Miley did not resign in the end. 

In his letter, Milley told Trump, "You are using the military to create fear in the minds of the people — and we are trying to protect the American people."


"I cannot stand idly by and participate in that attack, verbally or otherwise, on the American people," Milley wrote. "The American people trust their military and they trust us to protect them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and our military will do just that. We will not turn our back on the American people."


He continued: "It's now obvious to me that you don't understand that world order. You don't understand what the war was all about. In fact, you subscribe to many of the principles that we fought against. And I cannot be a party to that."

Mike Pompeo privately doubted Trump's Big Lie
Baker and Glasser detail what they call an "extraordinary arrangement" in the weeks after the election between Mike Pompeo, Trump's secretary of state, and General Milley. The two held daily morning phone calls with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, in an attempt to keep Trump from going off the rails with his Big Lie.

"'The crazies have taken over,'" Pompeo told Milley during a conversation after the election at Milley's kitchen table, according to the authors.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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