Christopher C. Miller, acting secretary of defense during the last few months of the Trump presidency, will reveal the entirety of his role in protecting the Capitol on January 6, 2021 riots in his new book, Soldier Secretary: Warnings from the Battlefield & the Pentagon about America’s Most Dangerous Enemies.
Miller previously testified about how the Pentagon sought to quell the riots to the January 6 Committee; pieces of his testimony have been released to the press to raise questions about President Donald Trump’s claims that he personally ordered 10,000 troops to be on standby during his speech on the Ellipse. Miller does not expound on this debate in the introduction to his book, which has been provided exclusively to The Spectator World. But he does describe the “histrionic” phone calls he received from House and Senate leadership, the “irony” of Speaker Nancy Pelosi begging for the National Guard after “decrying” its use to put down the George Floyd riots, lambasts the “panic” of politicians during the breach of the Capitol, and promises a tell-all in the pages to come.
Read the full excerpt here:
At 3:44 p.m. on January 6, 2021, I was sitting at my desk in the Pentagon holding a phone six inches away from my ear, trying my best to make sense of the incoherent shrieking blasting out of the receiver. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on the line, and she was in a state of total nuclear meltdown.
To be fair, the other members of congressional leadership on the call weren’t exactly composed, either. Every time Pelosi paused to catch her breath, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Steny Hoyer took turns hyperventilating into the phone.
Two hours earlier, a crowd of Trump supporters had unlawfully entered the Capitol. Congressional leadership had been swept away to a secure location at a pre-Civil War era Army installation less than two miles away. As acting secretary of defense, I was across the river at the Pentagon, speaking to them by phone and watching the mayhem play out on my TV screen.
“Get troops to the Capitol now, Mr. Secretary,” Pelosi demanded. The irony wasn’t lost on me. Prior to that very moment, the speaker and her Democrat colleagues had spent months decrying the use of National Guard troops to quell left-wing riots following the death of George Floyd that caused countless deaths and billions of dollars in property damage nationwide. But as soon as it was her ass on the line, Pelosi had been miraculously born again as a passionate, if less than altruistic, champion of law and order.
When I could finally wedge a comment in, I pointed out that I had already ordered the complete mobilization of the District of Columbia National Guard and that forces were on their way to the Capitol as soon as they were properly equipped and synchronized with the Capitol Police.
At this point in time, I had been President Donald Trump’s acting secretary of defense for approximately two months. I had known when I took the job that it was going to be wild. But I never could have imagined anything like this—getting reamed out by a histrionic Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell as they implored me to send troops to forcibly expel a rowdy band of MAGA supporters, infiltrated by a handful of provocateurs, who were traipsing through the halls of the Capitol, taking selfies, and generally making a mockery of the entire institution.
As a lifelong soldier who had spent nearly twenty-four years in Special Forces, I’d been in my share of shitstorms. I had been among the first Green Berets on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. I’d dodged bullets, grenades, missiles, and mortars in Iraq. I’d captured genocidal war criminals in Bosnia with the CIA. I’d hunted down the world’s most dangerous terrorists as director of the National Counterterrorism Center. But I had never seen anyone — not even the greenest, pimple-faced nineteen-year-old Army private — panic like our nation’s elder statesmen did on January 6 and in the months that followed.
For the American people, and for our enemies watching overseas, the events of that day undeniably laid bare the true character of our ruling class. Here were the most powerful men and women in the world — the leaders of the legislative branch of the mightiest nation in history — cowering like frightened children for all the world to see.
Do I blame a bunch of geriatrics for acting like a bunch of geriatrics? Of course not. But do I judge them for it? You’re damned right I do. Most of all, I resent that we are ruled by a bunch of geriatrics that ruthlessly and selfishly maintain their hold on power and refuse to develop the next generation of leaders.
In the military, stress becomes hardwired into your cerebral cortex. It’s always there, and you either learn to live with it, or you don’t live. And you sure as hell don’t run away when you’ve got a job to do.
That’s what I learned from my dad and uncles as a kid growing up in Iowa. They survived the Depression, fought in World War Two and Korea, then raised their kids to be patriots in the maelstrom of the Vietnam era. All of the adults I grew up around were tough as nails, and they taught us to be just as tough.
At family get-togethers, the typical topic of conversation was ass-kicking. I would routinely overhear crazy stories about my dad’s service in Korea, or an uncle rolling fifty-five-gallon barrels of gasoline into caves to burn out the Japanese.
Their conversations absolutely petrified me — yet I was enthralled. To this day, some small part of me wonders whether I joined the Army out of a desire to live life like they did — on the edge, in the crosshairs, serving the nation they loved on one death-defying adventure after another. I’ve collected a few of my own crazy stories over the years, which I’ll happily share in the pages to come.
Unlike the typical book written by retired military men, this is not a book of recycled policy prescriptions or repackaged “lessons in leadership.” This is the story of one soldier’s rise from a private in the Army Reserve to the highest office at the Pentagon. It’s about the heroes I fought alongside in Iraq and Afghanistan who didn’t live to tell their tales, and the sacrifices my generation has made on behalf of our nation. It’s about the rank-and-file troops I humbly served as acting secretary of defense, who bestowed on me an affectionate nickname: the “Soldier Secretary.” This book is also about our country, and how our military, our institutions, and our leaders failed to change in the decades following September 11, 2001 — and how we must change in the future if America is to survive.
The battles I’ve fought at home and abroad have left me profoundly worried for our nation’s future. Yet I am not without hope. I believe we can save America from the self-anointed experts who have led our country into one disastrous war after another. All it takes is a little common sense, and common sense is one thing our elites have yet to take from the American people.
In the pages that follow, I won’t make myself out to be some kind of flawless superhero who always did the right thing. I made plenty of mistakes, as both a soldier and a public servant, and I’ll do my best to give you an honest picture of people and events as I saw them.
I’m not looking to gain the plaudits of a national security establishment that has spent the last two decades losing wars in the Middle East. I’m not looking for fame or fortune or a lucrative deal as a talking head on cable news. Other than my family and a handful of friends, I don’t give two shits about what anybody thinks of me.
I profoundly dislike talking about myself, and I am the first to acknowledge that anything I accomplished was because of others. I have always viewed myself as just a guy doing his job and trying his best to serve his family, nation, and God with dignity, empathy, and honor.
I have written my experiences and thoughts simply to help the American people make sense of this brief, but likely important, period of American history that we find ourselves living through, and perhaps, to help us find our way forward. And, just maybe, some fourteen-year-old kid in the Middle West like I once was will be inspired to serve and contribute to this incredible experiment that is the United States of America.
Miller’s book, Soldier Secretary: Warnings from the Battlefield & the Pentagon about America’s Most Dangerous Enemies, will be released on February 7, 2023 by Center Street, but is available for pre-order now.