1 of 4 | On Friday, Gen. Mark A. Milley speaks during a ceremony in Arlington, Va., where his replacement on the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Gen. CQ Brown -- was sworn in. Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 29 (UPI) -- As a new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman was sworn in on Friday, outgoing Gen. Mark Milley said in a farewell speech that America's military serves the Constitution, not a "wannabe dictator."
His comments come after former President Donald Trump recently suggested that a president has total, unchecked power and that Milley is a traitor worthy of execution.
Milley delivered his farewell address as President Joe Biden paid tribute to him and swore in his successor, Gen. Charles Q. Brown. The ceremony took place at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va.
Biden said Milley was a trusted confidant and revered military leader, and the president commended his service to the nation.
"A combat infantryman, a master parachutist, a Green Beret, a warrior -- he served a total of five years in war zones," Biden said. "From Panama to Haiti to Bosnia to Afghanistan to Iraq, with a chest full of medals to show for it."
Biden said Milley was a patriot who is uncompromising in his duty, unflinching in the face of danger and unwavering in his service to the country.
Milley spoke, as well, and delivered a passionate farewell speech laced with strong reminders about the U.S. military's role in protecting the U.S. Constitution.
"We are unique among the world's militaries," Milley said. "We don't take an oath to a country, we don't take an oath to a tribe, we don't take an oath to a religion. We don't take an oath to a king, or a queen, or a tyrant or a dictator. And we don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator."
That last line appeared to refer to former president Donald Trump, who recently suggested Milley is a traitor who deserves execution.
Biden took to task Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., for single-handedly blocking more than 300 military promotion confirmations in the U.S. Senate.
"I've been here a long time I've never seen anything like this. It's outrageous and must stop," Biden said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had high praise for Milley's service.
"Gen. Milley is a scholar and a warrior," Austin said. "We respect him for his wit, but we love him for his heart. And he's thrown his whole heart into leading this tremendous joint force of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, guardians."
Late Friday after Milley's comments, Trump responded on his Truth Social platform, calling the general a "moron" and "stupid."
"Slow moving and thinking Mark Milley should never have made those calls to China's Military Leadership," Trump posted. "Does this moron, together with WOKE FOOL Mark Yesper (Esper!), who said "yes" to everything, have any idea how dangerous a situation he put our Country in? Look at his words -- STUPID & VERY DANGEROUS!"
Before honoring Milley, Biden used the occasion to comment on the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whom he called an historic figure, a trailblazer for women and a friend who championed civil liberties and the environment.
Gen. Mark Milley (L) holds a certificate of retirement alongside his wife, Hollyanne Milley, during a tribute in his honor as he retires as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., on September 29, 2023. Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI | License Photo