Aug 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump wanted his generals to be “totally loyal” like Hitler’s in WWII

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas
Former President Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on August 6 in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump told his top White House aide that he wanted his generals to be more loyal, like the generals who had reported to Adolf Hitler, per an excerpt from Susan Glasser and Peter Baker's forthcoming book.

Why it matters: The exchange underscores the growing contentious relationship between the former president and his top military officials toward the end of his presidency.

Driving the news: "You f*cking generals, why can't you be like the German generals?" Trump complained one day to former chief of staff John Kelly, per the book excerpt, published in the New Yorker.

  • "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 said.
  • "No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him," Trump replied.

The big picture: The excerpt also shows how Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Mark Milley wrote that Trump was "doing great and irreparable harm" to the country in a never-sent draft resignation letter in June 2020.

What to watch: The pair's book, "The Divider," is set to come out Sept. 20.

Go deeper... "Great and irreparable harm": Milley assailed Trump in draft resignation letter

Editor's note. The headline on this story has been corrected to note that Trump was talking about generals, not aides.

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