Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Defense Secretary Austin defends Joint Chiefs Chair Milley amid controversy

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, hold a press conference on July 21, 2021.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, hold a press conference on July 21. Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended Gen. Mark Milley Wednesday, following allegations that the latter had made plans to prevent former President Trump from staging a coup during the 2020 election, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Austin's remarks come as Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faces criticism from conservatives over accusations presented in an upcoming book detailing the end of Trump's presidency.

  • The book reports that Milley and other military leaders discussed stopping Trump "from using U.S. troops in a way that could help him hold onto power," according to Politico.
  • Milley has yet to comment directly on the book's claims, per Politico.

What they're saying: "I’ve known the chairman for a long time. We’ve fought together. We’ve served a couple of times in the same units," Austin said, per Politico.

  • "I’m not guessing at his character. He doesn’t have a political bone in his body," Austin added.
  • "We don't arbitrate elections. That's the job of the judiciary and the legislature and the American people. It's not the job of the U.S. military."

Go deeper: Milley to Trump: "I don't expect you to understand"

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