“These Guys Are Nazis…”

New Reporting Says Top U.S. Military & Political Leaders Saw Trump Preparing a Fascist Coup… and Kept It to Themselves!

| revcom.us


Editors’ note: In reading and thinking about the events described below, it is both helpful and important to study Bob Avakian’s recent article, This Is a Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, and How to Seize on This Rare Opportunity, in order to understand the larger context and significance of these events.

Letter from a reader:

Excerpts from three just published or soon-to-be published books report1 that after Trump lost the November election, top leaders of the U.S. military and security establishment—including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley—were deeply worried that Trump was basically a fascist leader who would try to use the U.S. military to remain in power.

Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump told his former Chief of Staff, John Kelly, in 2018 that “Hitler did a lot of good things,” and wouldn’t back off from his position even when Kelly pointed out that Hitler led a genocide that killed tens of millions. Kelly kept this to himself.

On November 10, just three days after the Associated Press and Fox News declared that Biden had won enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency, according to I Alone Can Fix It, by reporters for the Washington Post, Milley said he feared that the upcoming “Million MAGA March” in DC would be the American equivalent of “brownshirts in the streets.”2 That same evening, an unnamed friend warned Milley that the Trump people were aiming to “overthrow the government.” Later Milley compared Trump’s claim to be the only “savior” for his followers to Hitler’s “gospel of the Führer.”3 And he said that Trump’s insistence that the election was “stolen” was “a Reichstag moment.”4

According to Susan Glasser, Milley envisioned two “nightmare scenarios.” In one, Trump would start a war as a way to hold onto power. And during the post-election period tensions with Iran did ramp up to very dangerous levels.5 (Officially, U.S. media and politicians pretty much all went along with blaming Iran for the rising war danger.)

In the other scenario, Milley feared Trump would use some kind of civil disorder to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to order the U.S. military into the streets to crush his opponents. During the protests around George Floyd, Trump had tried to invoke the Insurrection Act against protesters, and, according to Bender, said the military should “just shoot them.” Milley and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are reported to have talked Trump out of this, behind closed doors.

And it was not just Milley and a few others. Glasser says that Milley “repeatedly met in private with the Joint Chiefs,” as well as other high-level people in the U.S. security apparatus. He was talking to Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi about the danger. Pelosi is said to have asked Milley to guarantee that Trump wouldn’t launch a nuclear strike or start a war. “He’s dangerous. He’s a maniac,” she reportedly said. Even as at the same time, the “F-word” (fascism) was all but banned from public discourse on mainstream media, while people were channeled exclusively into the electoral process.

Milley discussed with other military leadership how to handle an order from Trump (who is constitutionally the commander of the armed forces) that was aimed at achieving one of the two “nightmare scenarios.” They developed a plan for mass, staggered resignations, one general after another, and going public with their reasons. The Joint Chiefs of Staff sent out a signed internal memo to the armed forces after January 6, condemning the “violence, sedition and insurrection” at the Capitol and emphasizing that “Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.” Prior to Biden’s January 20 Inauguration, Milley spoke to the various cops and soldiers involved in security, as follows:

“These guys [Trump’s fascist backers] are Nazis, they’re Boogaloo Boys, they’re Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II. Everyone in this room, whether you’re a cop, whether you’re a soldier, we’re going to stop these guys to make sure we have a peaceful transfer of power. We’re going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren’t getting in.”

And even more bluntly, according to I Alone Can Fix It, Milley told his staff that as regards a Trump-led coup: “They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed. You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”

What is revealed by these reports of Milley's comments and actions is just how sharply divided the ruling class in the U.S. is today. Over the half-year since the assault on the Congress to stop the certification of the results of the 2020 election, Trump and the fascist Republican Party have doubled down that Trump actually won the election by a landslide, Biden stole the election and is illegitimate, and that the January 6 rampage of the Capitol was a peaceful and just rally of patriots.

So the highest body of military advisers to the president, who are the main enforcers of U.S. imperialism around the world, and no friend to humanity, reportedly opposed their commander-in-chief for fear that he would overthrow what has been the hallmark of bourgeois democracy in this country—the peaceful transfer of power. This should sound the alarm as to how seriously dangerous the situation is that confronts the people of this country and the world.

A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution issued by the Revcoms this past spring says:

These divisions and conflicts have ripped big holes in the camouflage of this system, further exposing its real nature and the lie that this is “the greatest country in the world,” the “shining light of freedom” and “leader of the free world.” All this is very likely to become more and more intense, tearing apart the bonds that have held things together under this system and further deepening the divisions throughout society, including within the institutions of power. This could lead to something very bad—or something very good, IF we act in the way we need to in these rare circumstances and fight to take things where they need to go.


1. A Note on Sources. The three books drawn from here are: Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal; I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post; and a forthcoming book by Susan Glasser of The New Yorker and Peter Baker of the New York Times. These authors each say that their work is based on hundreds of interviews with people in and around the Trump administration and the U.S. military, but most of these sources are unnamed (for understandable reasons).

While the publications that these journalists work for are “propaganda instruments of the ruling class,” in this instance, the picture that these journalists paint in these excerpts, including the quotations from key figures like Trump, Milley and others, are consistent with what is already known about them through their public statements and actions. And the fact that multiple journalists writing “competing” books have all painted a basically similar picture, and that no one except the notorious pathological liar Trump has publicly denied the truth of what they have published, all lend significant credibility to these accounts. In addition, retired high-ranking military leaders like General Barry McCaffrey and Admiral James Stavridis have publicly confirmed that these kinds of conversations were going on in the high-level circles to which they have access. [back]

2. Brownshirts” refers to the paramilitary wing of the German Nazi party that paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power by terrorizing, beating or killing anyone who opposed him. [back]

3. Gospel of the Führer”—Hitler was known as “the Führer,” which means “leader” in German, but with an almost god-like quality, the “savior” of Germany. [back]

4. The “Reichstag” was the German parliament building that burned down in 1933. Hitler was prime minister then; he blamed the fire on the German communists, played it up as a national emergency, and used it to assume absolute power, the turning point in unleashing an unprecedented nightmare on Europe and the world. [back]

5. See “As the U.S. Ratchets Up War Moves Against Iran...” It should be noted that the threat of war was not just coming from Trump’s efforts to hold onto power, but also from Christian fascists like VP Mike Pence who held key positions in the regime and saw crushing Iran as a key part of their vision of bringing about God’s kingdom on earth. At one point Milley reportedly asked Pence why he and his people were so intent on attacking Iran. “Because they’re evil” replied Pence. [back]

January 6, fascists storm the capitol in Washington, DC. Photo: AP

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

“You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics.”

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE



Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:

Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.