Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official who served during part of Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, has said that the former president’s rhetoric around nuclear weapons prompted multiple meetings among administration officials to prepare for the possibility of war.
In October 2020, Taylor was revealed to be the author of a New York Times op-ed attributed to “Anonymous,” in which he described how he and a small cadre of Trump officials had formed an alliance to keep Trump in check. In excerpts of Taylor’s new book, “Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump,” the former DHS official describes aides holding meetings in the White House to discuss Trump’s comments relating to nuclear war, including his tweets threatening other world leaders.
“In the national security world, anything having to do with nuclear weapons is handled with extreme sensitivity — well-planned, carefully scripted — yet we didn’t know what Trump might say at any given moment,” Taylor said in one excerpt.
The former DHS chief of staff recounted an example:
One day, [Trump] threatened North Korea ‘with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.’ He almost seemed to welcome a nuclear conflict, which terrified us.
On another occasion, Taylor recalled how then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis told him, early in Trump’s term, that because of the president’s rhetoric, “you all need to prepare like we’re going to war.”
Taylor added that DHS officials took the unprecedented step of convening “every top leader” in the department “to discuss the brewing crisis.”
“Experts walked through various scenarios of a nuclear strike on the U.S. homeland, dusted off response plans, and outlined best-case scenarios which nevertheless sounded horrifically grim,” Taylor said in his book. “I cannot provide the details, but I walked out of those meetings genuinely worried about the safety of the country. In my view, the department was unprepared for the type of nuclear conflict Trump might foment.”
“This is the first time to my knowledge that DHS thought there was the possibility, however remote, of Trump actually starting a war and us having to prepare for the nuclear fallout in the homeland,” Taylor added in a recent interview with Politico.
Chris Krebs, who was a DHS official at the same time as Taylor, confirmed to Politico that such meetings had taken place. Another former Trump administration official, Olivia Troye, who served as a DHS adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, also confirmed the existence of such meetings.
“Yup. All true,” Troye said in a tweet citing Taylor’s book. “I was in these meetings regarding N. Korea. Talk about stress…”
Taylor’s book could be of interest to Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Jack Smith, who recently indicted Trump on 37 charges relating to his mishandling of sensitive government documents, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said over the weekend.
“I would certainly subpoena Miles Taylor and put him before the grand jury to testify about what he knows, what he saw, and what he heard,” Kirschner said on MSNBC.
In his “Anonymous” op-ed, Taylor described himself as being “part of the resistance” within the Trump White House who saw a need to ensure that the president didn’t do anything too egregious, particularly when it came to national security. In 2020, weeks before he was revealed to be the author of the op-ed, Taylor criticized Trump for other comments he made behind closed doors, including expressing a desire to “maim” and “shoot” migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This was a man with no humanity whatsoever,” Taylor said at the time.
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