James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, has echoed General Mark Milley’s apprehensions about the potential actions of Donald Trump should he be re-elected as president. Both figures have added fuel to speculative fire, suggesting that a potential re-election of Trump would lead to the imprisonment of his perceived adversaries.
During a conversation on CNN, Clapper was asked about General Milley’s recent statements, where Milley speculated that if Trump were to secure a second term, he might incarcerate his opponents. Milley had even mentioned that he could be at the top of such a list.
Responding to the report, Clapper stated, “I think there are probably a lot of people that are potentially on such a list. And again, that’s reprehensible.” He further added, “I think General Milley’s comment was he didn’t think President Trump would be re-elected. Well, I’m not so sure about that. So yeah, that’s a real concern for many of us.”
The backdrop to these concerns can be traced back to a profile on General Milley, where he raised the possibility of Trump taking such actions upon re-election. In the Atlantic’s detailed feature, Milley has confided in close associates that he is of the opinion that if Trump reassumes the presidency, “He’ll start throwing people in jail, and I’d be on the top of the list.”
The Atlantic wrote:
In normal times, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the principal military adviser to the president, is supposed to focus his attention on America’s national-security challenges, and on the readiness and lethality of its armed forces. But the first 16 months of Milley’s term, a period that ended when Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as president, were not normal, because Trump was exceptionally unfit to serve. “For more than 200 years, the assumption in this country was that we would have a stable person as president,” one of Milley’s mentors, the retired three-star general James Dubik, told me. That this assumption did not hold true during the Trump administration presented a “unique challenge” for Milley, Dubik said.
Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper also claims there’s a valid concern that if Trump returns as commander-in-chief, he might “retaliate” against individuals like Gen. Mark Milley. On Monday, he told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that there is “a legitimate fear” Trump would throw his opponents in jail.
“So is it possible that a new loyalist sitting around Trump in the Oval Office will say, ‘let’s call up Milley?’ Yeah, it’s quite likely,” Esper claimed.
“Now, the good news is if there’s a silver lining in all this is Trump’s kind of poisoned to, well, I don’t know that a jury could or anybody would find that he could be given what we would call command influence that such a thing could happen. But nonetheless, I think it’s a legitimate fear. The president also said that a second term would be about retribution, right? So I think these are all legitimate concerns.”
As the nation approaches another election cycle, these concerns trumpeted by CNN hosts, valid or not, could play a role in peddling the narrative that has negatively surrounded Trump.
Trump’s former defense secretary @MarkTEsper says “it’s a legitimate fear” that if Trump becomes commander-in-chief again that he would seek to punish people like Gen. Mark Milley after baselessly suggesting he committed treason. “I think these are all legitimate concerns.” pic.twitter.com/CtSTDHiifQ
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 26, 2023