Tucker Carlson's attack on Gen. Milley is 'confirmation' Trump wanted 'massacre' of protesters, David Frum argues

Fox News host Laura Ingraham went after Gen. Mark Milley, the Pentagon's top military commander, on her show Wednesday night after he waved off Republican complaints about a West Point seminar that taught critical race theory and, more generally, defended the practice of studying and trying to understand things you don't necessarily agree with. Her colleague Tucker Carlson joined in Thursday, calling the four-star general "a pig," "obsequious," and "stupid."

Carlson suggested he was particularly upset Milley said he wanted to understand "white rage," but Carlson's proclivity for defending white people isn't what really prompted Thursday night's rant, David Frum argued. The "best way to understand Tucker Carlson's abuse of Gen. Mark Milley tonight is as confirmation of the accuracy of the stories Gen. Milley told about rebuffing ex-President Trump's order for a massacre in Portland, Oregon," he tweeted.

The stories Frum was specifically referring to were in CNN's excerpt Thursday of a book on "the inside story of how Trump lost" by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender. Milley was sometimes the only voice of dissent in Oval Office meetings where Trump proposed violently suppressing protests after the police murder of George Floyd, Bender reports. "That's how you're supposed to handle these people," Trump said, according to Bender. "Crack their skulls!" Trump also reportedly told his team he wanted the military to "beat the f--k out" of the civil rights protesters, and said on multiple occasions, "Just shoot them."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"When Milley and then-Attorney General William Barr would push back, Trump toned it down, but only slightly" CNN reports, citing Bender. "Well, shoot them in the leg — or maybe the foot," Trump is reported to have said. "But be hard on them!"

See more

Milley was also reportedly infuriated when Trump's senior adviser Stephen Miller suggesting the protests were turning U.S. cities into war zones. Milley, who had commanded troops in actual war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, considered Miller not only wrong but out of his lane, Bender reported. "Shut the f--k up, Stephen," Milley reportedly snapped.

Trump wanted a massacre in Portland, and "Milley wouldn't deliver," and "then Milley told a reporter what Trump had said," argued Frum, who used to be friendly with Carlson. "The reporter's story saw light today — and so tonight Trump's mouthpieces revile Milley. It's not complicated."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.