OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former First Lady Melania Trump played a critical role in the Situation Room during an operation that led to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being killed, according to a new book from former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.
Miller’s new book, titled, “Soldier Secretary: Warnings from the Battlefield & the Pentagon about America’s Most Dangerous Enemies.” Miller details Melania Trump’s presence in the Situation Room during the operation that killed al-Baghdadi and how she offered former President Donald Trump advice after the attack.
“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.
The Daily Caller reported:
Miller, who was the senior director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) at the time of al-Baghdadi’s death, is not pictured in the photo. Counterterrorism officials, however, have a precedent of being in the Situation Room during counterterrorism operations, including during the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Miller’s book offers insights into his time in the Trump administration leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, his three decades of military service, and what has happened to America’s military since 9/11. Miller claims Donald Trump asked Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, deputy director for special operations on the Joint Staff, to bring the first lady “up to speed.”
After a discussion about what may happen, Evans told the group that the U.S. “assault force had unleashed their combat dog” into the building with al-Baghdadi, “with our commandos close behind,” Miller wrote. Al-Baghdadi was cornered and detonated a suicide vest, killing himself, his two 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.
Miller also noted that after the successful operation, President Trump asked the team how he should address the nation.
Melania Trump, to Miller’s surprise, “took over.”
“You should talk about the dog,” she said, Miller wrote. “Everyone loves dogs.”
Donald Trump agreed and thought that was great advice.
He brought Conan the dog to the White House and gave him an award, saying he did “such a great job in capturing and killing the leader of ISIS.”
President Trump announced in November that he was making another run for the White House. He filed the formal paperwork and told a crowd at Mar-a-Lago at the time that “America’s comeback starts right now.”
“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said to a room full of supporters. “Unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”
“The world was at peace, America was prospering, and our country was on track for an amazing future— because I made big promises to the American People and, unlike other Presidents, I kept my promises,” Trump said. “Under our leadership, we were a great and glorious nation, something you haven’t heard for quite a long period of time. We were a strong nation, and importantly we were a free nation. Now, we are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation.”
While Trump settled the issue of whether he would run again, new questions emerged about who he may choose as a running mate.
Some reports have suggested that according to an unnamed Trump adviser, the former president is likely to choose a running mate “from three general lanes of candidates: women, conservatives of color, or a trusted adviser.”
In particular, one top Republican lawmaker is setting herself up to become Donald Trump’s 2024 running mate, according to one of the former president’s one-time top advisers.