Trump told top military officials to ‘shoot’ protesters in the leg and ‘crack their skulls,’ new book claims

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 18, 2021.

  • Trump’s rhetoric against protesters grew increasingly hostile in his final months, according to excerpts from a new book.
  • CNN obtained the excerpts which reportedly detail how top Gen. Mark Milley found himself as a voice of opposition.
  • On multiple occasions, Trump reportedly suggested shooting protesters, according to the book.
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As protests raged across the US last year, the country’s top general had to rebuff then-President Donald Trump’s desire to order military intervention as a response to civil unrest several times, as the former president’s manner grew more volatile in his final months in power, according to excerpts from a new book obtained by CNN.

In “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender details how Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley frequently found himself as the one voice of resistance during heated discussions in the Oval Office as Trump’s rhetoric escalated in response to the eruption of civil unrest in 2020, according to the book.

Bender’s book alleges that Trump would tell his administration he wanted to see law enforcement “getting physical” with protesters, even showcasing videos that featured aggressive police responses as examples, CNN reported.

“That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,” Trump told top officials, according to Bender’s reporting. “Crack their skulls!”

On multiple occasions inside the White House, Trump reportedly suggested shooting protesters. He also told members of his administration that he wanted the military to “beat the f— out” of the protesters, CNN said, citing Bender’s forthcoming book.

According to the outlet, Milley and then-Attorney General William Barr would push back against the president’s increasingly hostile language and he would acquiesce, but only somewhat.

“Well, shoot them in the leg – or maybe the foot,” Trump reportedly said. “But be hard on them!”

A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley

Bender’s book suggests that Milley also had to contend with other top officials who emboldened Trump’s extremism, including senior advisor Stephen Miller, who reportedly compared the cable news coverage of protests to a third-world country, suggesting parts of America had been turned into a war zone.

The suggestion enraged Milley, according to CNN, who believed Miller to be operating out of his wheelhouse.

“Shut the f— up, Stephen,” Milley told Miller, according to the excerpts reviewed by CNN.

A representative for Milley did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

According to CNN, Bender’s book also alleges that despite being on “good terms” with Trump, Milley made an effort to be in Washington as frequently as possible during the final months of Trump’s presidency, in part, because he had concerns that Trump might decide to invoke the Insurrection Act as a response to protests.

Though the president never did, Milley reportedly worried about how to advise Trump if he had invoked the Insurrection Act, which would have moved military forces out on the streets acting against civilians.

Milley and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper were both against the idea, which Trump proposed several times in response to civil unrest and protests.

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Returning home to protesters at his door, Ted Cruz says he regrets taking luxury vacation to Cancun amid devastating Texas winter storms

Ted Cruz cancun 3.JPG
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to the media at the Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the U.S., in Cancun, Mexico February 18, 2021.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flew to Cancun Wednesday and returned Thursday after criticism over the trip.
  • Texas is coping with severe winter weather, as millions lost power, heat, or clean drinking water.
  • The senator expressed regret over the trip while protesters gathered in front of his home.
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Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas returned from Cancun Thursday evening to find protesters outside his home demanding his resignation after taking the trip while millions in the state deal with severe winter weather.

Speaking to reporters outside his home, Cruz expressed regret for the trip while the protesters could be heard chanting in the background.

“It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,” Cruz said, saying that it wasn’t his intention to diminish “the suffering and hardship other Texans had experienced.”


Cruz’s decision to fly to Cancun while millions of people in Texas battled unusual winter storms, power outages, and drinking water shortages was met with swift criticism. He flew out of the country Wednesday evening, returning the following day amid growing outrage.

The senator also reiterated he was trying to be a good dad by getting his two girls out of the cold, and said he had planned to be working remotely while on the trip.

“From the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision,” Cruz told reporters. He said the outrage over the trip made the decision to come home more compelling.

He also called for a “longer term examination” of what went wrong in Texas.

“Our priority should be fixing this problem, and making sure it doesn’t happen again, and I didn’t want all the screaming and yelling about this trip to distract even one moment from the real issues that I think Texans care about,” Cruz said, as protesters outside his home carried signs that read “RESIGN” and chanted “Ted Cruz has got to go.”

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More National Guard troops are being deployed in Washington, DC as Trump supporters storm the Capitol

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington

  • The governor of Virginia said Wednesday he is sending additional National Guard troops to DC as Trump supporters storm the Capitol.
  • The Pentagon also issued a statement announcing that the DC Guard was being activated in response to the unrest.
  • Maryland’s governor said Wednesday afternoon that he was sending troopers into DC to support the Metropolitan Police Department and Capitol Police.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As a crowd of Trump supporters storm the US Capitol Wednesday to challenge congressional efforts to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win, more National Guard troops are being deployed to Washington, DC.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he was sending additional National Guard troops into the city Wednesday afternoon. In addition to the Guard members, Northam said that he was sending 200 Virginia State Troopers in response to a request from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The Pentagon sent out a statement shortly thereafter announcing that “the DC Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District.” The Department of Defense stated that the “law enforcement response will be led by the Department of Justice.”

Both the Washington Post and ABC News reported that the entire DC National Guard was being activated in response to unrest.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday afternoon that he is sending in additional law enforcement to support local authorities in DC.

Ahead of Wednesday’s violent protests, 340 National Guard troops were activated in DC to support local law enforcement. The unarmed Guard troops were primarily tasked with traffic and checkpoint management.

National Guard troops were deployed to DC last summer in response to large-scale protests calling for racial justice following the death of an unarmed Black man in police custody. More than 2,000 Guard members were called in from both inside and outside DC.

At one point in early June, the Pentagon also had around 1,600 active-duty troops in position outside the city to provide additional support, but they ultimately returned home without entering the city.

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Far-right group Proud Boys claim they will attend January 6 DC rally ‘incognito’ and wear all black to blend in with antifa protesters

proud boys
Members of the Proud Boys gather in support of President Donald Trump and in protest the outcome of the 2020 presidential election near freedom plaza on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • The Proud Boys, a far-right group, have said they will be attending the rally “incognito.”
  • They will forgo their traditional uniform of black and yellow and, instead, wear all-black.
  • Followers of antifa, an anti-fascist movement, typically appear in all-black clothing, have frequently clashed with the Proud Boys.
  • President Donald Trump has advertised a ‘stop the steal’ rally on January 6 to his followers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Members of the far-right group, the Proud Boys, will head to Washington, DC to rally for President Donald Trump on January 6 – the day on which Congress is scheduled to meet to finalize the 2020 presidential election results.

Leaders from the group have shared with their followers that they intend to attend the rally “incognito” and wearing “ALL black.”

The Proud Boys’ chairman, Enrique Tarrio, revealed on Parler that “the Proud Boys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but, this time, with a twist.”

The twist, Tarrio said, is that they will forgo their traditional uniform for something inconspicuous.

He wrote: “We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow.”

The group’s standard uniform is black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts, military armor, and MAGA hats.

Instead, the chairman explained: “We might dress in all BLACK for the occasion.”

Followers of antifa, an anti-fascist movement, typically wear all-black clothing.

antifa black
Antifa members gather behind protective shields during a Stop The Steal protest at the Georgia State Capitol on December 12th, 2020 in Atlanta, GA.

The Proud Boys intend to take further steps to blend in with other protesters.

Tarrio wrote: “We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams.”

Joe Biggs, an organizer for the group, confirmed the alleged plans on his Parler account.

In a video, he said: “We will not be attending DC in colors. We will be blending in as one of you. You won’t see us. You’ll even think we are you. “

He continued: “We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you. The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us! Jan 6th is gonna be epic.”

The Proud Boys and antifa have clashed on numerous occasions. Last month, four people were stabbed and another was shot after the two groups clashed.

In 2018, a video emerged of antifa protesters being beaten up by members of the Proud Boys in New York City

antifa proud boys
Members of the Proud Boys and antifa stand off near Black Lives Matter Plaza on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.

The Proud Boys gained mainstream attention after Trump name-called them at the first presidential debate

They made headlines again after Tarrio claimed responsibility for setting a Black Lives Matter banner on fire during a pro-Trump rally on December 12.

Their plans to gather in support of Trump on January 6 have worried some politicians.

The DC’s Attorney General Karl Racine told CBS News: “My level of anxiety is high. My preparation is even more intense than that.”

Racine said that he fears that the Proud Boys will “pick fights, create damage, damage property, and then act in a very threatening way.”

Trump has been accused of inciting right-wing groups to participate in violent protests on January 6.

A former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye, has said that she fears that there could be violence at this rally because “the president himself is encouraging it.”

Last month, President Donald Trump promised his supporters that there would be a “wild” rally in Washington, DC.

On Friday, the president reminded his followers that there would be a “BIG Protest Rally” taking place in the capital from 11 a.m.

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