Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Apologizes for Appearing in Trump Church Photo Op: “I Should Not Have Been There”
General Mark Milley has apologized for his participation in a photo op with President Donald Trump at a church in Washington, D.C. The admission may well be unprecedented,
Milley is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the most senior military officer in the United States. He addressed his involvement in the photo op at St. John’s Church in a prerecorded speech on Thursday.
Milley told graduates from the National Defense University that he was “outraged” by the death of George Floyd.
“As senior leaders, everything you do will be closely watched,” Milley said.
“And I am not immune. As many of you saw, the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week. That sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society.”
“I should not have been there,” he said.
“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
“As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”
“[Floyd’s] death amplified the pain, the frustration, and the fear that so many of our fellow Americans live with day in, day out,” Milley said.
The photo op caused widespread outrage. Park Police cleared police protesters to clear a path for the President through Lafayette Park, while many considered the General’s presence inappropriate.
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Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media