Politics Milley acted to prevent Trump from misusing nuclear weapons, war with China, book says
Mark Milley Insists Calls to China Are 'Routine' Part of Job in First Public Comments
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came under fire amid reports that he'd twice called his Chinese counterpart with assurances that the U.S. would not attack or initiate a war with China. Speaking to the AP while traveling to Europe, Milley said that he made the calls "to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability."Excerpts from the upcoming book Peril, authored by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, contained descriptions of the calls Milley made. During the conversations, he told Li that he would provide him with a warning in the event of a U.S.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley took steps to prevent then-President Donald Trump from misusing the country's nuclear arsenal during the last month of his presidency, according to a new book by the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa obtained by NBC News.
Their book, "Peril," said in the days before the 2020 election, there was Milley also acted to prevent a potential conflict with China. The book says that Milley received intelligence that Chinese officials believed the U.S. was getting ready to attack them. In order to defuse tensions, Milley called the head of China's military, Gen. Li Zuocheng, and told him the "American government is stable" and "we are not going to attack."
Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod
It's Wednesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley has become a lightning rod for the Biden administration amid calls for him to resign over book excerpts revealing President Trump's final days in office.We'll break down what the issue is, who is angry, and what the Biden administration has to say.For The Hill, we're Ellen Mitchell and Rebecca Kheel. Write to us with tips: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's get to it.
"If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise," Milley is quoted as saying.
"We're not going to have a fight," Milley told him, according to the book. Li replied, "Okay." "I take you at your word," Li said.
Trump laced into Milley in a statement, calling the general a "dumb---" and the details of the story "Fake News."
"For the record, I never even thought of attacking China — and China knows that. The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad," he said in the statement.
Trump Put Milley in an Impossible Position
The general stayed inside the lines—barely. The real problem is that he was in that situation at all.In a new book, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa write that Milley contacted his opposite number in China just before and just after the 2020 election. Milley, according to Woodward and Costa, was reaching out to General Li Zuocheng to calm jangled nerves in Beijing about the stability of the United States. Milley also reportedly called together a group of senior U.S. officers and made them affirm, one by one, that they understood that the procedure for the release of nuclear weapons had to include him.
The book, set to be released on Sept. 21, also recounts a phone conversation Milley had with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol, which Pelosi blamed on an "unhinged" Trump.that she spoke to Milley about "preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike."
"I can guarantee you, you can take it to the bank, that there'll be, that the nuclear triggers are secure and we're not going to do - we're not going to allow anything crazy, illegal, immoral or unethical to happen," Milley told her, according to a transcript of the call obtained by the authors.
"The president alone can order the use of nuclear weapons. But he doesn't make the decision alone. One person can order it, several people have to launch it," he said later in the conversation.
After the call, Milley summoned senior officers from the National Military Command Center to go over the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, the book said. He told the officers that if they got a call, "you do the procedure. You do the process. And I'm part of that procedure," he said - making sure he was in the loop on any planned military actions, the book said.
Joe Biden Is Keeping Mark Milley. But His Actions Show the Country Is Still Grappling with the Trump Era
Biden and his staff have so far showed no signs of being concerned about Milley’s reported actions under Trump.Biden and his staff have so far showed no signs of being concerned about Milley’s actions under Trump or the possibility he’d stretched too far the trust between any sitting President and military leaders. “I have great confidence in General Milley,” Biden said Wednesday.
Those scenarios didn't come to fruition.
The book also revealed a previously unreported call between then-Vice President Mike Pence and former VP Dan Quayle in late December. Pence was seeking advice about Trump's demand that heduring the electoral vote count on Jan. 6.
Quayle thought Trump's suggestion was "preposterous and dangerous," according to the book. He told Pence, "You have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away."
Pence told him, "I've been trying to tell Trump," but "there are other guys there saying I have this power."
"You don't," Quayle told him.
Pence told his fellow native Indianan he did have some concerns about the vote in Arizona. Quayle responded, "Mike, I live in Arizona." "There's nothing out here," he said.
Joint Chiefs Back Milley's Alleged Calls to China, Done to 'Maintain Strategic Stability' .
General Mark Milley's reported conversations with China were not improper, a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson said.An upcoming book says Milley told General Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army that he would give him advance warning if President Donald Trump planned to launch a military attack against China. Trump and some Republican leaders have said that if the report is true, Milley may have committed treason.