How did Gen. Milley become such a famous public figure? Politico adroitly dances around the question while offering a few backhanded answers.
Milley is the most famous Joint Chiefs chair since Colin Powell — and without an actual ongoing war to boost his profile. Like the politically savvy Powell, of course, he’s helped himself, especially when it comes to cultivating the folks who shape reputations. Reporters on the national security beat say he’s a blunt, intellectual and remarkably available source, particularly off the record. Veterans of the beat described Pentagon run-ins that turned into long, candid conversations.
“Remarkably available source, particularly off the record” is a nice D.C. way of saying that Milley is very eager to talk to the media without it being announced that he’s talking to the media.
That means so many of the stories about him, whether involving Trump or not, likely came from him.
“Remarkably available” is especially notable in a city whose political elites obsessively hunt for publicity and build their own brands. Milley’s capacity for doing so is extreme even by D.C. standards.
Milley didn’t become famous accidentally. He’s focused on media outreach at the expense of his duties.