Former Defense secretary: There's a 'legitimate fear' Trump will retaliate if reelected


Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that he thinks concerns about former President Trump seeking retaliation on officials — such as outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley — are “legitimate.”

“Look, I think it’s a legitimate fear,” Esper told CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins. “If you recall from my memoir … I cite a circumstance where [Trump], egged on by his close advisers, wanted to call back to active duty Adm. McRaven and Gen. McChrystal, to court-martial them, for some things that they allegedly said in in the public domain, and Milley and I had to talk the president out of doing that, for any number of reasons.”

“The president has also said that a second term would be about retribution, right? So, I think these are all legitimate concerns,” he later added.

Trump made comments last week accusing Milley of a “treasonous act” in which he “was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States.” The former president’s remarks seem to reference calls made by Milley to China for reassurance at the end of Trump’s term.

“This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Milley’s relationship with the former president is especially notable when it comes to one of the multiple indictments Trump faces. The former president’s relationship with Milley is notable when it comes to one of the multiple indictments Trump faces.

Trump claimed to have a secret document that revealed Milley was the one who had come up with the “plan of action” against Iran. He also claimed the document was secret and not declassified.

Milley has denied Trump’s claims, saying he “doesn’t know the document they’re talking about.”

“No one’s presented me with what it is they’re talking about. Milley stated in an interview that he “really still cannot comment on it.” “But I can assure you that … a military attack on Iran is a very, very serious undertaking.”

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