Outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley emphasized that military members pledge allegiance to the Constitution, not to any individual, during his retirement ceremony 

Without explicitly naming former President Trump, Milley's remarks were seen as a veiled reference to the former president's leadership style 

President Trump had accused Milley of committing treason by communicating with China after the January 6 riot, with Trump suggesting the punishment should be death 

Milley's communications with his Chinese counterpart were revealed in the book "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa 

Critics expressed concern over whether Milley's actions were appropriate, leading to calls for his resignation or firing from some Republicans 

In response to Trump's comments, Milley revealed that he had taken additional safety measures for himself and his family 

Milley defended his actions, stating that he had never made any calls to China that could be considered treasonous 

During his retirement ceremony, Milley emphasized that military members take an oath to defend the Constitution and the idea of America, regardless of personal sacrifice 

Milley's relationship with Trump had soured previously in 2020 when police used tear gas to clear protesters from Lafayette Square for a photo opportunity, and Milley later apologized for his involvement 

The ceremony also marked the swearing-in of Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the new chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as Milley concluded his four-year tenure