Trump’s new favorite general

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Army Gen. Mark Milley has warned that Russia and China represent “faint clouds of a coming storm” for the United States. He’s accused lawmakers who fail to approve regular Pentagon budgets of “professional malpractice.” And he’s said he has found “zero” problems with transgender Army recruits, despite President Donald Trump’s claims to the contrary.

That was all before Trump chose Milley, now the Army chief of staff, to be the nation’s top military officer on Saturday, announcing his nomination to replace Marine Gen. Joe Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The job would put Milley, a physically imposing former hockey player, in the middle of some of the biggest debates of Trump’s presidency — from his proposed Space Force to the deployment of active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. And Milley, once known for his openness with reporters, has gone largely silent in his nearly four years as Army chief of staff, rarely appearing at media events or granting interviews.

Still, his background and past statements offer clues.

Milley has a record of tough deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He often notes that 242 soldiers have died under his command since 2001 — including some who have lost their lives “within arm’s reach of me,” as he said in an August speech.

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