“I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it,” Milley said in a pre-recorded speech to the National Defense University released on Thursday, CNN reported.
The country’s top general said it was a “mistake” to appear in combat fatigues and walk across Lafayette Park with the president, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other White House officials on June 1 to pose outside of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“As senior leaders, everything you do will be closely watched. And I am not immune. As many of you saw, the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week. That sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society,” Milley said.
The event at the church, in which Trump held up a Bible, happened moments after the president announced at the White House that he was considering invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act that would allow him to deploy US troops to quell the protests over the killing of George Floyd a week before by Minneapolis police officers.