The new book by former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller reveals that the first lady sat in one of the most important chairs in the Situation Room during the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, offering him counsel after the attack, and that she also offered counsel to former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the attack.
Melania Trump visited the Situation Room as the president’s executive team awaited a last attack on al-Baghdadi, according to an excerpt of Miller’s book acquired by the Daily Caller.
“Secretary of Defense Mark Esper quickly gave up his seat and she sat down next to the President, who introduced her to us as if we didn’t know who she was. Her presence was unexpected, to say the least. I wondered how it would play in the press if word got out that the First Lady had popped in to watch a major military operation. Not my problem, I figured. And after all, it was her house,” Miller wrote in “Soldier Secretary: Warnings from the Battlefield & the Pentagon about America’s Most Dangerous Enemies,” set to hit shelves Feb. 7.
Never before has the first lady’s presence in the Situation Room been mentioned. According to a photo issued by the White House, attendees included President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.
Miller, who was the senior head of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) at the time al-Baghdadi was slain, is notably absent from the shot. Despite this, there is historical precedence for counterterrorism officials to be present in the Situation Room during counterterrorism operations, such as after the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The book provides an insight into Miller’s experience in the Trump administration prior to the January 6 riot, his three decades of military service, and what has transpired in the United States military over the past decade.
Miller asserts that Donald Trump instructed Brigadier General Marcus Evans, the deputy director of special operations for the Joint Staff, to “catch” the first lady.
Evans informed the group that the U.S. “assault force had unleashed their combat dog” into the building with al-Baghdadi, “with our commandos close behind,” according to Miller. Al-Baghdadi was surrounded and detonated a suicide vest, so killing himself, two of his children, and two of his wives.
“The assault force commander wouldn’t declare ‘Jackpot’—the code word announcing that Baghdadi was dead—until the body was inspected. They would also take some tissue to check for a DNA match once they got back to friendly territory. [Then-deputy national security advisor Matt] Pottinger and I knew that some poor kid was searching through the dust-and smoke-shrouded rubble with his helmet-mounted lamp and handheld flashlight, trying to find Baghdadi’s head,” according to Miller.
According to Miller’s story, Donald Trump then asked the group what would happen to the dead, to which Milley responded that he and the others would be buried at sea. According to Miller, Donald Trump asked Milley what would happen to the “two women” who were slain, and Milley proposed that the remains may be left there.
“Don’t you think ISIS will parade their bodies around and make it look like they were innocent?” Donald Trump asked, Miller wrote.
The book adds that a few minutes later, Evans called US Central Command and whispered in Milley’s ear that a “barrage of missiles would destroy the structure” where the operation took place.
Miller asserts that Donald Trump had requested assistance on how to address the American people about the operation.
Melania Trump surprised Miller by interjecting and “took over” the response to this inquiry.
“You should talk about the dog,” she said, according to Miller. “Everyone loves dogs.”
Donald Trump agreed.
Trump, Pence, O’Brien, Esper, Evans, and Milley did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for confirmation of the information included in the story.