Former President Donald Trump laid into General Mark Milley Friday over viral comments he made in support of critical race theory on Capitol Hill, continuing his attacks on the loosely defined academic framework that’s become a subject of derision on the right.
In an interview with Newsmax, Trump said he watched Milley’s testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services on Wednesday and found it “pathetic” and “sad.”
Trump claimed that Milley and others “didn’t talk that way” when he was in office, or he would have “gotten rid of them in two minutes.”
Milley on Wednesday enraged conservatives when he told lawmakers it’s valuable for members of the military to learn about critical race theory. “I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read,” Milley said. The United States Military Academy is a “university” that needs to understand racial issues. “I want to understand white rage, and I’m white,” Milley said, referencing a term popularized by author Carol Anderson in a book taught in a course at West Point.
This is not the first time Trump has criticized critical race theory, which has this year emerged as a new front in the culture wars. Last week, Trump slammed President Joe Biden for supposedly embracing critical race theory and went as far as to argue teaching the theory verges on “psychological abuse” of children. “Students are being subjected to a new curriculum designed to brainwash them,” Trump wrote in an op-ed published on RealClearPolitics’ website. Few schools teach “critical race theory” by name, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on Wednesday the military does not “teach” or “embrace” it. The academic framework is based on the concept that racism is systemic and embedded into U.S. institutions, including the governmental system.