Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley recorded a short video that aired soon after the General appeared at a church with President Donald Trump that had just been cleared of protestors. In the video, he called his presence at the church “a mistake.”

Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper had joined the president to pay a surprise visit to the historic Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square, during which the President held up a Bible for photographers. Milley appeared conspicuous as a portly lone figure in camouflage fatigues shortly thereafter with the President at the church. This reinforced the assumption that the Pentagon was in charge. 

Just minutes before his appearance at the church, President Trump gave a speech at the White House denouncing “acts of domestic terror.” He also stated that the United States was in the grips of professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, and criminals.

It was during this time that the church, just a few blocks from the White House, was being cleared off protestors by the police. 

was also involved. 

During his speech, Trump stated that he was putting Milley in charge of protest responses and threatened to mobilize thousands of troops. 

This incensed several retired generals and admirals, including former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. They argued that the President was breaking the Constitution, which preserves and protects the right for peaceful protest, and that the military was designed to be apolitical. 

Milley heard that criticism from his peers and reacted quickly, putting out the video, which was part of a prerecorded video commencement address to the National Defense University. Yet, the video was not followed by a news conference, thus sparing him from answering any questions, which are sure to be forthcoming. However, Milley has not appeared publicly or held a press conference since that night.