Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley dismissed the George Floyd riots as “penny packet protests” — insisting they weren’t an insurrection because the mobs only “used spray paint,” according to a new book.
The under-fire general — accused of going behind President Donald Trump’s back to contact his Chinese counterpart — wildly downplayed the riots when Trump raised fears they were “burning America down,” according to Fox News excerpts from the new book, “Peril.”
“Mr. President, they are not burning it down,” he told the alarmed commander-in-chief, according to authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
“They used spray paint, Mr. President, that’s not an insurrection,” he told Trump.
It was not immediately clear when the conversation happened, but violent, fiery protests broke out in cities across the US soon after Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020.
New York City saw mass looting and fires in the street, including torched police vehicles, while other cities saw deadly shootings within days, and thousands of National Guard members were ultimately deployed in at least 15 states, Fox News also noted.
Milley, however, gestured to a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln as he tried to dismiss Trump’s clear fears over the violence.
“We’re a country of 330 million people. You’ve got these penny packet protests,” he said, using a term for something insignificant, according to the book being published Sept. 21.
Milley insisted it was not an issue for the US military — and instead said the protests were understandable given systemic racism, according to the Fox excerpts.
“That’s pent up in communities that have been experiencing what they perceive to be police brutality,” Milley reportedly told Trump.
But when the Jan. 6 Capitol riot happened, Milley believed it “was indeed a coup attempt and nothing less than ‘treason,’” the book said.
He feared that Trump might be looking for a “Reichstag moment” and believed the attack “so unimagined and savage, [it] could be a dress rehearsal for something larger,” the authors wrote.
Milley’s spokesperson told Fox News that his office was not commenting on the book.