Donald Trump Denies Shouting Match With General—'I Would Have Fired Him'

Donald Trump has denied reports that he and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had a loud and expletive-ridden disagreement on how to handle the Black Lives Matter protests last year.

The dispute is one of a number of claims to have been made in Frankly, We Did Win This Election, a book by The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender which is set to be released on July 13.

According to an extract, published by Axios, while sat in the Situation Room with then Attorney General Bill Barr and former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Trump had "exaggerated claims" about the violence in cities last summer and then "alarmed officials" by announcing he had put Milley "in charge" of attempting to suppress the protests.

According to Bender, Milley had to inform Trump that he was an adviser, and not in command.

The extract reads:

"I said you're in f*****g charge!" Trump shouted at him.
"Well, I'm not in charge!" Milley yelled back.
"You can't f*****g talk to me like that!" Trump said. ...
"Goddamnit," Milley said to others. "There's a room full of lawyers here. Will someone inform him of my legal responsibilities?"
"He's right, Mr. President," Barr said. "The general is right."

In a statement to Axios, Trump denied the claims made in the book and insisted he would have fired Milley if such an exchange took place.

"This is totally fake news, it never ever happened. I'm not a fan of Gen. Milley, but I never had an argument with him and the whole thing is false," Trump said via a spokesperson. "He never talked back to me. Michael Bender never asked me about it and it's totally fake news.

"If Gen. Milley had yelled at me, I would have fired him," Trump added.

Defending the claims, Bender told Axios: "This exchange was confirmed by multiple senior administration officials during the course of hundreds of hours of interviews with dozens of top Trump World aides for this book.

"Contrary to Mr. Trump's assertion, I asked the former president for his side of this particular argument in a written question — as he requested — along with other queries included in my thorough fact-checking process. He did not reply."

According to CNN, Milley also had to push back on Trump's desires to deal with the racial injustice protesters with extreme force.

"That's how you're supposed to handle these people," Trump reportedly said during Oval Office discussions. "Crack their skulls."

The book also claims that Trump suggested "just shoot them" several times inside the Oval Office.

Trump's office has been contacted for further comment.

Update 06/28/21: 11.10 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with the July 13 release date of Frankly, We Did Win This Election.

 General Mark Milley  trump
Donald Trump and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley meet with military leaders and the national security team in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C on May 9, 2020. Trump has denied claims in a new book alleging the pair clashed over how to deal with last summer's racial-justice protests. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images