Did the Army Chief of Staff Just Subtweet President Trump?

President Donald J. Trump at Trump Tower on August 15th, defending neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

General Mark A. Milley, the US Army Chief of Staff, is a tough guy. If you’ve ever seen him speak, you probably know two things about him: He loves Boston sports teams and he doesn’t put up with bullshit. Well, judging by his tweet from early this morning, General Milley has had enough of his own Commander in Chief’s bullshit.


Normally, a blanket denunciation of racism and hatred wouldn’t be considered a subtweet of the president. But we live in extraordinary times.

President Trump emboldened America’s most vicious racists and bigots yesterday when he said, yet again, that “both sides” deserve scorn for what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. In this case, “both sides” means both the side with all the Nazis and the side with all the people who opposed the Nazis.


Trump even referred to Friday’s tiki torchlight neo-Nazi rally and insisted that some of those who attended were good people. It was such a disgusting and reprehensible comment that normally conservative commentators went so far as to say it was a “moral disgrace.”

General Milley was sworn in as Army Chief of Staff in August of 2015 under President Obama. But he’s been completely unwilling so far to criticize President Trump in any way, as you might expect from a career military officer. Strangely, that could be changing.


It’s entirely possible that General Milley didn’t intend for his tweet to be a direct attack on the president, but the timing certainly is curious. The mere fact that it could even be interpreted as a criticism of Trump, as it has been by many people on social media, shows you just how messed up the country has become. Denouncing racism and Nazis means that you now stand on the opposite side of the president of the United States.

Trump has surrounded himself with plenty of military figures, including his new White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly. But even hardened military men have their limits. You only need to take a look at John Kelly’s face during yesterday’s press conference to see how frustrated he is with his boss.


As a reminder, General Kelly has been in his new job for just 19 days. He has outlasted Anthony Scaramucci’s 12 days as Communication Director. But we’ll see if Kelly lasts 19 days more. I’m not holding my breath.


Update, 7:28am: It looks like the US Marines have something to say about it as well.


And the US Navy denounced the Charlottesville Nazi terrorists on August 12th:


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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog