Donald Trump appeared to issue a death threat against a high-ranking military official on Friday, sparking widespread outrage over his controversial statement.
As the weekend began, Trump implied that General Mark Milley, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, deserved to be killed for criticizing him, prompting conservatives of various backgrounds to quickly condemn the comments.
In an extensive diatribe, Trump berated Milley as a “Woke train wreck” and suggested the general’s communications with China seeking to diffuse tensions in early 2021 were worthy of execution.
Trump’s comments came after Milley revealed in a news profile that he had felt compelled to restrain Trump during his presidency.
Taking to Truth Social, Trump accused Milley of being responsible for the loss of lives during the Afghanistan withdrawal and even insinuated that he might and suggested he may in fact deserve the death penalty for his purported actions.
The reactions from fellow Republicans and conservatives flooded the online sphere.
Chris Christie, a fellow GOP presidential candidate and a Trump critic, weighed in on Saturday. He noted that Milley had joined a growing list of individuals, including Bill Barr, Mark Esper, and John Kelly, who had once been appointed and praised by Trump but were now targets of his attacks because they had prioritized the country over him.
“All appointed and praised by Trump, and now all regularly attacked by Trump because they had the nerve to put the country ahead of him. What kind of person threatens execution on a third-tier social media site? A sad and disturbed person who has no place being near the White House, let alone living inside it,” Christie said. “Simple lesson in all of this. You either do what Trump says, or you’re his enemy. I know what camp I’m in, and I’m not going to stop.”
Olivia Troye, a former Homeland Security aide to Vice President Mike Pence during the Trump administration, endorsed Christie’s sentiments with a heartfelt “Thank you, Gov. Chris Christie.”
George Conway, a conservative lawyer who had been critical of Trump, responded to a pro-democracy group’s characterization of Trump’s behavior as “gross” by going a step further, calling it “sick.”
Tom Nichols, once a Republican who distanced himself from the party after it nominated Donald Trump, pointed out that Trump’s comment seemed to be a direct threat to Milley.
“Trump knows exactly what he’s doing here,” Nichols said.
David Weissman, a former Trump supporter, expressed concern, likening Trump’s statement to a call for General Milley’s execution and urging a swift resolution through due process to prevent potential harm. Weissman also drew parallels to a previous incident involving Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene calling for Nancy Pelosi’s execution.