Witness Alleges Gen. Mark Milley’s Concerns Influenced National Guard Deployment Delay on Jan. 6

During a Wednesday hearing before Congress, a witness testified that former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s apprehensions about former President Donald Trump potentially politicizing the military led to a delay in deploying the National Guard to address the Jan. 6 riots, citing fears of a “Reichstag moment.”

Four current and former leaders of the Washington, D.C. National Guard appeared before a panel from the House Committee on Administration, alleging that two senior Army generals provided false information regarding the failure to promptly order National Guard troops to secure the Capitol grounds during the riots. Retired Col. Earl Matthews, former chief legal adviser to the D.C. National Guard, accused Milley of making comments that hindered the president’s authority and influenced key Army leaders against deploying troops near the Capitol.


Matthews claimed, “The conditions were set by this talk of a ‘Reichstag moment.’ The idea that a bunch of black kids in the D.C. Guard are going to usurp the election for Trump is crazy, but that’s what they were talking about.” He acknowledged that Department of Defense (DOD) leaders did not have malicious intentions in delaying action.

He further stated, “The people who ran the Army are very close associates of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They owe their positions to him, and he was not… there are books about how Chairman Milley was impeding the ability of the president.”

Milley, then the highest-ranking military officer and presidential adviser, reportedly expressed concerns that Trump might incite domestic unrest as a pretext to deploy the military and restore order, as revealed in testimony.

The Department of Defense Inspector General’s report released in November 2021 attributed the delay to various factors, including National Guard Maj. Gen. William Walker’s failure to plan for deployment and local law enforcement leaders’ uncertainty about the Guard’s role, according to Matthews.

Matthews characterized the delay as the outcome of cautious and hesitant leadership, expressing suspicions about the political optics of a military presence and a lack of trust in the commander-in-chief.

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