Former Vice President Mike Pence avoided calling Donald Trump a “would-be dictator” when asked about outgoing Gen. Mark Milley dropping an apparent farewell salute to the former president on Friday.
“I don’t know who he meant, but I have to tell you that Donald Trump’s recent comments about General Milley were inexcusable,” Pence said in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Friday.
The former president called the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “slow moving and thinking” and as an “idiot” after declaring in a farewell speech that “we do not swear an oath to a would-be dictator.”
Trump and Milley have clashed in the past, including during the former president’s time in the Oval Office.
Collins, who said it was “very clear who” Milley was talking about at his farewell ceremony Friday, continued to pressure Pence over the “would-be dictator” remark.
“It’s very clear he was talking about former President Trump. I mean, do you agree that Donald Trump is a would-be dictator?” Collins asked later.
“Well, I agree with what General Milley said about the oath that men and women take in uniform,” Pence responded, pointing to family members in the military.
“I cannot confirm or comment on what or who General Milley meant, but I can confirm his eloquent reference to the men and women who have served in the uniform of the United States today and throughout this country’s history.”
In response, Collins said that Trump “clearly” thought the remark was about him because “he responded by calling General Milley an idiot.” She went on to reference Trump’s “WOKE FOOL” label for former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and brought up Trump suggested that Milley be executed for treason.
“Are these comments exaggerated in your opinion?” Collins asked.
“Well, as I said, his previous comments about General Milley were inexcusable and really have no place in the public debate,” Pence responded.