Here are excerpts of Peril, the new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward and his colleague Robert Costa. I’m not yet done with reading it, but I can already observe that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, wasn’t afraid to stand up to President Donald Trump on several issues.
Reading this book is an excellent antidote to the perception that General Milley is a weak figure.
About Confederate flags:
Trump asked Milley, what do you think?
“I’ve already told you twice, Mr. President. Are you sure you want to hear it again?”
Yeah, go ahead, Trump said.
“Mr. President”, Milley said, “I think you should ban the flags, change the names of bases, and take down the statues.”
He continued, “I’m from Boston, these guys were traitors.”
Someone asked, what about the Confederate dead buried at Arlington National Cemetery?
“Interestingly,” Milley said of the nearly 500 Confederate soldiers buried there, “they’re arranged in a circle and the names on the gravestones are facing inward, and that symbolizes that they turned their back on the Union. They were traitors at the time, they are traitors today, and they’re traitors in death for all of eternity. Change the names, Mr. President.”
There was brief silence in the Oval Office.
About the protests following George Floyd’s murder:
Stephen Miller, the 34 year-old director of White House speechwriting and one of Trump’s most conservative senior advisors, was a hardliner on the unrest.
“Mr. President,” Miller said, piping up from one of the Oval Office couches, “they are burning America down. Antifa, Black Lives Matter, they’re burning it down. You have an insurrection on your hands. Barbarians are at the gates.”
“Milley spun around from his seat in front of the Resolute Desk. “Shut the fuck up, Steve.
“Mr. President,” Milley said turning back to Trump, “they are not burning it down.”
I’m about halfway through this fascinating account of Donald Trump’s demise from power and Joe Biden’s ascent. This is classic Woodward. You’re literally walking in the corridors of power with him and his author acolyte.
This book will hit the shelves of bookstores tomorrow. If you’re interested in US politics, this book is a must on your list.
And I intend to review it in the coming days.
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Peril, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2021, 512 pages.