Esper: Trump Wanted To Activate Retired Four-Stars To Court-Martial Them For Disloyalty

No a bit thin skinned nor petty is tRump.   When you show this to his cult followers they see nothing wrong with it but change out the name tRump for Biden and they go ape shit crazy over it.   Again, it is tribalism on full display.   Hugs
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s new book recounts the episode.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks after being sworn in as President Donald Trump looks on in the Oval Office at the White House on July 23, 2019. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump demanded that the military recall two retired four-star officers who criticized him so they could be court-martialed, a new book says.

According to a copy of ex-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s memoir, A Sacred Oath, obtained by TPM, Trump demanded that former Gen. Stan McChrystal and former Navy Admiral William H. McRaven be recalled into active duty so that they could be court-martialed for criticizing the President.

“So disloyal,” the book recounts Trump complaining to Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley.

The effort began in May 2020, the book says, after articles appeared in various right-wing news outlets claiming that McChrystal was advising the Democratic Party on ways to use artificial intelligence to damage Trump’s re-election effort. One Breitbart article from the time accused McChrystal of participating in an effort to “track down and counter Trump supporters on social media.”

“This spun the president up,” Esper wrote.

McChrystal was working as an adviser for Defeat Disinfo, a Democratic Party-aligned PAC that planned on using technology to counter false talking points about COVID-19.

“Everyone wishes the Pandora’s box was closed and none of this existed, but it does,” McChrystal told the Washington Post in May 2020, referring to the problem of disinformation.

McChrystal resigned from the military in 2010 following a Rolling Stone article in which he and his staff were quoted speaking disparagingly about senior White House officials, including then-Vice President Biden.

“Are you asking me about Vice President Biden? Who’s that?” the article quoted McChrystal as saying.

In the memoir, Esper recounts a May 2020 meeting between himself, Milley, and Trump, to address the then-President’s anger toward the two retired officers.

“The next thing I knew, Mark Milley and I were sitting in front of the president trying to talk him out of recalling McChrystal to active duty,” Esper wrote.

Trump also purportedly contemplated adding McRaven to the court-martial plan. McRaven was an outspoken critic of Trump during his administration, writing in an October 2019 op-ed in the New York Times that the U.S. was “under attack” by Trump.

“The president told Milley and me that he ‘want[ed] to call them [McChrystal and McRaven] back to active duty and court-martial them’ for what they said,” the book reads.

Esper wrote that he and Milley tried to dissuade Trump from going through with the plan, telling him that the plan would backfire.

But, per Esper, Trump only relented after Milley “promis[ed] that he would personally call the officers and ask them to dial it back.”

McChrystal, reached by email, told TPM that “there was no call I remember — and I would have remembered that.”

He also wrote that it was the first he had heard of the matter, and declined to comment further. McRaven could not be reached for comment.

8 thoughts on “Esper: Trump Wanted To Activate Retired Four-Stars To Court-Martial Them For Disloyalty

    1. Hello Nan. Yes but I have also heard that tRump claims he wouldn’t go back to twitter. The real issue for Musk is that if tRump goes back will be legal liabilities for trump’s lies and attacks about others if congress gets rid of section 230.

      What does Section 230 provide?

      As part of its broader review of market-leading online platforms, the U.S. Department of Justice analyzed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which provides immunity to online platforms from civil liability based on third-party content and for the removal of content in certain circumstances.


  1. People who knew about things in TFG’s admin but didn’t tell and/or pursue avenues of authority that are/were then open, should not profit now that the country is in such a mess. I know they say, “the next guy would have been worse than me!” But they could have stopped the damage and even brought about consequences for the bad actors. Not only should these authors not profit, they also should be tried for not doing their civic duty at the earliest time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Ali. I agree. The idea of personal responsibility is no longer a thing among these people. The fact is it works to threaten to resign, that kept tRump from firing the head of one of the departments because everyone in the leadership threatened to walk. I forget which one it was. But every one of these people should have let the public know the crazy crap behind the scenes this nut job was trying to do. It might not have mattered to the nut job cult members, but the swing voters might have cared. Remember the Hillary commercial that said the phone call comes in at 3 AM, who do you want answering it? The answer is not tRump.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Scottie, with all of the many traits of the former president we should not emulate, the one we tend to overlook is how vindictive he can be. Dissent must be punished. I am reminded of the House Republican who was at the White House celebrating the passing of an awful bill to repeal and replace the ACA which fortunately did not pass. He noted on the desk of the president was a list of all Republicans who voted against the bill. That had to be punished. This is the nature of the person who wants to fire people. Keith

    PS – we should not forget Trump fired Andrew McCabe on the day of his retirement to deny him his pension.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Keith. I agree. But again, this is the party of personal responsibility and the party that wants everyone to think they stand on principles. They should be what they claim, I think. But to hold this news until they could profit is a sign of what is wrong with politics today. Every politician sees the job as first to stay in office and second to profit from the office they hold. Nothing about public service. Nothing about helping the country or the public. Just make profit and sell your story after.


  3. Scottie, on a slightly different note, but still just as mind-bending, I just read this in a newsletter I get:

    As president, Donald Trump repeatedly asked aides if China could be manufacturing hurricanes and sending them to damage the United States, three unnamed former senior officials told Rolling Stone. Trump also reportedly wanted to know if using such a “hurricane gun” would constitute an act of war.

    And THIS is from the man who ran this country for four years. Or at least liked to think he did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Nan. Yes and that was one of the things Esper withheld from the public. I wonder if the swing voters would have voted differently if they knew tRump thought China was hurtling hurricanes at the US and wanted to go to war with them over it. Think of the reasoning behind that idea. A country that can create hurricanes and target countries with them is one tRump wanted to go to war with. Instead, he started a trade war with that country that we lost badly, and he was sure he could win that war. Not the best military tactician is he.

      Liked by 1 person

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