Army general says he was wrong to join Trump in stroll to nearby church

'My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.'

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June 11, 2020 - 9:50 AM

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, left, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Gen. Mark Milley, the nation’s top military officer, said Thursday he was wrong to have accompanied President Donald Trump on a walk to a church through Lafayette Square, where he was photographed in his combat uniform with the presidential entourage.

“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” Milley said. “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”

The statement by the Joint Chiefs chairman risked the wrath of a president sensitive to anything hinting of criticism of events he has staged. Trump’s June 1 walk through the park to pose with a Bible at a church came after authorities used pepper spray and flash bangs to clear the park and streets of largely peaceful protesters.

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