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Army Chief of Staff Speaks Out Against Racism and Extremism

August 16, 2017, 1:35 PM UTC

As his commander-in-chief doubled down on his claim that “both sides” were to blame for violence during a weekend rally by white nationalists in Virginia, the Army’s chief of staff is making it clear that racists and extremists should stay away.

Gen. Mark Milley, the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, said in a Tweet that such actions are “against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.”

Milley’s comments don’t criticize Donald Trump or run contrary to any recent White House comments, but their clarity stands out amidst the growing furor about the president’s seeming reticence to call out bigotry since the clashes. Trump’s blame of “both sides” has prompted many executives to resign from his manufacturing council.

The Army is the largest branch of the U.S. military, making up 36% of all active military personnel as of 2015, according to Pew Research. Racial and ethnic minority groups make up 40% of the active military overall—up from 25% in 1990.

Desegregation in the Army occurred in 1948, on the order of President Harry Truman. That was nine years before segregation ended in U.S. schools.