- Retired senior military officers said Trump "abdicated his duty" on Jan. 6 in an op-ed for The New York Times.
- The four-star generals and admirals wrote that military leaders should be prepared for "similar situations."
- On Thursday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley testified that it was Pence, not Trump, who called to ask him to send in the National Guard.
Former senior military officials blasted former President Donald Trump Thursday evening for what they described as"dereliction of duty" during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in a new op-ed for The New York Times.
A group of seven retired four-star military officers, including admirals Steve Abbot, James Loy, John Nathman and William Owens and generals John Jumper, Peter Chiarelli and Johnnie Wilson, wrote that while the Jan. 6 committee has produced "startling findings," the most alarming to them is that Trump "abdicated his duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" while rioters attacked the US Capitol.
"The president's dereliction of duty on Jan. 6 tested the integrity of this historic principle as never before, endangering American lives and our democracy," they wrote. "We hope that the country will never face such a crisis again. But to safeguard our constitutional order, military leaders must be ready for similar situations in which the chain of command appears unclear or the legality of orders uncertain."
In a recorded testimony presented Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that it was not Trump who contacted him about sending the National Guard to the Capitol, but Vice President Mike Pence.
"Mike Pence was very animated, very direct: 'Get the military down here, put down this situation,'" he said.
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Milley also said he got a call from Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff, saying they needed to "kill the narrative" that Pence was in charge, not Trump. Milley said he interpreted that as "politics, politics, politics" and noted that he "doesn't do political narratives."
Among the many congressional leaders who have condemned Trump's actions, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., — who serves in the Air National Guard and is on the House Jan. 6 committee — said during the hearing on Thursday that Trump's conduct was "a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation."
"It is a stain on our history," Kinzinger said. "It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed in and died in service of our democracy."
In the op-ed published in The New York Times, the former senior military officials wrote that the lesson of Jan. 6 is that "our democracy is not a given."
"To preserve it," the wrote, "Americans must demand nothing less from their leaders than an unassailable commitment to country over party — and to their oaths above all."