WASHINGTON – General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is facing the ire of lawmakers following a report. Assured China that the United States would not conduct a nuclear attack In the final days of the Trump administration.
The revelations of the bombing were reported in Washington Post journalist Bob Woodard’s latest book, “Peril”. Woodward writes that in a pair of calls in 2020, Milley twice assured his Chinese counterpart, General Li Xuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army.
Former President Donald Trump and his allies have called the move seditious, accusing Milley of destroying the military chain of command, demanding consequences.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Accused Milley of “treasonous” and “reckless behavior” and urged President Joe Biden to sack the top general.
“This is a dangerous precedent that may be asserted at any point in the future by General Milley or others,” Rubio writes in an open letter to Biden. “It threatens to break our country’s long-standing principle of civilian control of the military.”
At the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Biden has worked closely with Milley during his eight months as president and considers him a patriot.
“The President has full faith in his leadership, his patriotism and his loyalty to our Constitution,” he said.
Milley’s spokesman, Army Colonel Dave Butler, said Milley’s calls with the Chinese were routine and were employees of other agencies.
“The Chairman of the Joint Heads of State regularly communicates with defense chiefs around the world, including China and Russia,” he said. “These conversations are critical to improving mutual understanding of US national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity, and avoiding the unexpected.” result or conflict. His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in line with these duties. In the legitimate tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution, General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority.
Democrats’ reactions to the report expressed concern that the situation was possible in the first place.
“The fate of the world should not depend on a single general, in this case Mark Milley, trying to stop a president who is unstable,” Representative Ted Liu, DNJ, wrote on twitter. Liu has introduced legislation with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to require the president to seek Congressional approval prior to any nuclear attack.
Milley was not the only top national security leader concerned about the stability of the president. According to Woodward’s book, after Trump lost his re-election in 2020, former CIA director Gina Haspel told Milley that “we are on the way to a right-wing coup.”
Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper also directed backchannels with China to reassure them that the US would not launch a nuclear attack, according to axios.
Trump himself denounced Milley in an interview on Newsmax, calling the idea that he would call a nuclear attack on China “absolutely ridiculous” in a Tuesday interview.
“So, first of all, if it’s really true, which is hard to believe, that he would have called China and did these things and was prepared to advise them on the attack or before the attack, that’s treason,” Trump said. he said. Asked his former aide and White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Spicer and Company.”
Trump also called Milley an “idiot” in his statement on the report, reiterating that he should be prosecuted for treason for “dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the president’s back”.
“If true, General Milley broke some very good laws and we should make sure there is accountability for that,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a close aide of Trump, said in a Newsmax interview on Tuesday. .
While former Trump officials claimed that the calls between Miley and Lee were made in secret, Sources told Fox News that there were 15 people in the teleconference. Between the two generals, including members of the State Department and the intelligence community.
The former president also held talks with political and media allies to call for Milley’s arrest, According to a report by the Daily Beast. Several high-profile right-wing commentators with close ties to Trump have expressed outrage over the issue, including Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson of Fox News, as well as many conservative activists and pundits.
Could Trump have launched a nuclear attack on his own?
Typically, the President will consult with the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other relevant advisers before launching any nuclear attack. However, the president has unilateral authority to order a strike, and military commanders who do not comply with the order will be subject to court-martial.
A Pentagon official denied that Milley attempted to insert himself into the chain of command, but instead reminded all military commanders what their role was in the process, according to fox news.
The new stories in Woodward’s book are not the first time that Milley clashed with Trump. In June 2020, Milley apologizes for appearing with Trump after military police acquit peaceful racial justice protesters With tear gas and anti-riot tactics from Lafayette Square in Washington, DC.
Milley also had a phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California. During this, Pelosi expressed concern that Trump would carry out a nuclear attack.
Follow Matthew Brown Online @mrbrownsir.