Christopher Miller, the former acting Secretary of Defense, told House lawmakers during his public testimony on Capitol Hill that he never spoke with former President Donald Trump even as violence erupted after a group of his supporters stormed the United States Capitol on January 6.
Miller said Trump never called him to ask if the Capitol had been secured. Miller said he had “all the authority” he needed to “fulfill [his] constitutional duties,” noting that he did not speak to Trump at all that day.
Miller also explained why he was resistant to deploy military forces to defend the Capitol. He blamed the media for the security failure.
“I want to remind you and the American public that during that time there was irresponsible commentary by the media about a possible military coup or that advisors to the President were advocating the declaration of martial law,” Miller said. “I was also very cognizant of the fears and concerns about the prior use of the military in June 2020 response to the protests near the White House, and just before the electoral college certification, 10 former Secretaries of Defense signed an op-ed, published in The Washington Post warning of the dangers of politicizing inappropriately, using the military.”
here's former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller blaming "irresponsible commentary by the media" for security failures during the January 6 insurrection pic.twitter.com/lNFdGkURKI
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 12, 2021
He added: “This isn’t a video game, where you can move forces with the flick of a thumb or a movie that glosses over the logistical challenges and the time required to coordinate and synchronize with the multitude of other entities involved, or with complying with the important legal requirements involved in use of such forces.”
Miller, for his part, said that those critical of his response lacked an understanding of military procedures and situations.
“Those of you with military experience or understand the nature of military deployments will recognize how rapid our response was. Criticism of the military response is unfounded and reflects inexperience with or lack of understanding of the nature of military situations, or worse, is simply a result of politics. I suspect a combination of both of these factors,” he said.
Miller failed to mention that it had been Trump who had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol to delay the electoral certification of Joe Biden‘s win. After the election, he waged a weeks-long campaign to subvert the result, first through legal means, and later through extra-legal efforts. As early as December 18, 2020, three weeks before the insurrection, he encouraged his supporters to attend a rally in Washington, D.C. to contest the election result. Talk of potential violence circulated for weeks before the event, particularly as Trump continued to retweet messages from far-right activists who publicly vowed to subvert the election result at his behest.