Mark Milley APOLOGIZES for joining Donald Trump's infamous photo-op

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs APOLOGIZES for being part of Donald Trump's infamous photo-op saying he was 'wrong' to create a perception of military involvement in politicsMillary was among top officia

Mark Milley APOLOGIZES for joining Donald Trump's infamous photo-op

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs APOLOGIZES for being part of Donald Trump's infamous photo-op saying he was 'wrong' to create a perception of military involvement in politics

  • Millary was among top officials who accompanied Trump to St. John's church for a photo-op 
  • He was wearing his combat fatigues and was seen in photographed and live TV coverage of the June 1 walk
  • The decision to use police and military force to clear Lafayette Square of protesters minutes before caused an uproar 
  • Comes after a series of former top military officials including Gen. George Mattis blasted the photo-op and warned against politicizing the military
  • Also comes a day after Trump said he would refuse any effort to rename U.S. military bases named after confederate generals 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has apologized for his decision to accompany president Donald Trump to his infamous photo-op at St. John's church, saying he 'should not have been there.'

Milley acknowledged the mistake in a commencement speech to the National Defense University Thursday. 

'My presence in that moment and in that environment created an impression of the military involved in domestic politics,' Milley told graduating military and civilian students. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (r, in combat fatigues) has apologized for accompanying the president to a photo-op at St. John's church June 1

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (r, in combat fatigues) has apologized for accompanying the president to a photo-op at St. John's church June 1

'I should not have been there,' said MIlley, amid ongoing blowback about the use of a display of military force to attempt to push back peaceful protesters the day of the photo-op.

'As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from and I sincerely hope we can all learn from it,' Milley said.

Milley was pictured walking along with Trump across Lafayette Park June 1 en route to the photo-op, which occurred just moments after Trump called for 'law and order' in a White House Rose Garden speech. 

He did not stand with Trump in front of the church, however, where Trump was pictured holding up a bible. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who did stand with Trump at the photo-op, tried to explain his belief in keeping the military out of politics last week, with his own job on the line.

Millary also said he was personally angry about “the senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd,” according to the New York Times, who reported quotes from the address.

Gen. Mark Milley issued his extraordinary apology in a speech to graduating students at the National Defense University

Gen. Mark Milley issued his extraordinary apology in a speech to graduating students at the National Defense University

In this file photo President Donald Trump walks with US Attorney General William Barr (L), US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper (C), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley (R), and others from the White House to visit St. John's Church after the area was cleared of people protesting the death of George Floyd June 1, 2020

In this file photo President Donald Trump walks with US Attorney General William Barr (L), US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper (C), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley (R), and others from the White House to visit St. John's Church after the area was cleared of people protesting the death of George Floyd June 1, 2020

Millary issued the apology after coming under criticism for his role in the event

Millary issued the apology after coming under criticism for his role in the event

In his remarks to graduating students, Milley also defended the international order that he said has prevented bloodshed after world wars, called for them to 'embrace the Constitution,' and issued a passionate defense of the rights of African Americans and a pledge to further diversify the upper ranks of the military.

 We have also seen over the last two and a half weeks an especially intense and trying time for America. I am outraged by the senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd. His death amplified the pain, the frustration, and the fear that so many of our fellow Americans live with day in, day out. The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to the centuries of injustice towards African Americans. 

'What we are seeing is the long shadow of our original sin in Jamestown 401 yeras ago, liberated by the Civil War but not equal in the eyes of the law until 100 years later until 1965. We are still struggling with racism. We have much work to do,' he said.

He called out 'patterns of mistreatment and unspoken and unconscious bias' that he said 'have no place in America.'

'We must we can and we will do better,' Milley said. 'And we should all be proud that the vast majority of protests have been peaceful,' he added, as President Trump continues to tweet calls for 'law and order.'  

Milley came under criticism for accompany President Trump on his way to a photo-op at St. John's church

Milley came under criticism for accompany President Trump on his way to a photo-op at St. John's church

His apology came after former Defense Secretary Gen. John Mattis condemned politicization of the military

His apology came after former Defense Secretary Gen. John Mattis condemned politicization of the military

Millery's extraordinary apology comes  after a series of former top military officials including Gen. George Mattis blasted the photo-op and warned against politicizing the military.

Mattis said he was 'angry and appalled' by what he saw, writing in the Atlantic.

'Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics,' Mattis said.  

Milley's apology is just the latest open disagreement between top current or former military officials and President Trump.

Trump announced Wednesday that he 'will not even consider' renaming American military bases that were named after leaders of the Confederacy – despite moves by top military leaders to set in motion a process to consider renaming of the bases, some of which are named after slaveholders who lead troops in battle agains the Union.

President Trump said Wednesday that he will 'not even consider' renaming the 10 Army bases that are named after Confederate leaders. In the two weeks since George Floyd's death, the 'Black Lives Matter' protests have renewed calls to rid the country of Confederate monuments

President Trump said Wednesday that he will 'not even consider' renaming the 10 Army bases that are named after Confederate leaders. In the two weeks since George Floyd's death, the 'Black Lives Matter' protests have renewed calls to rid the country of Confederate monuments 

President Trump sent out a trio of tweets just before Wednesday's White House briefing saying he was against renaming 10 Army bases that are currently named for Confederate leaders

President Trump sent out a trio of tweets just before Wednesday's White House briefing saying he was against renaming 10 Army bases that are currently named for Confederate leaders 

'These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,' Trump tweeted Wednesday.  'The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,' the president continued. 

'Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,' Trump said. 

On Monday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told Politico that he was 'open' to renaming these 10 facilities. 

Politico reported that Defense Secretary Mark Esper - who has been at odds with Trump over how to deal with the 'Black Lives Matter' demonstrations - also supported the discussion.  

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