Politics Mark Milley Insists Calls to China Are 'Routine' Part of Job in First Public Comments
Mark Milley Accused of Treason As Republicans Urge Joe Biden to Fire Him
Rep. Ronny Jackson has accused the chairman of the joint chiefs of "colluding with our enemies" as other GOP lawmakers call for General Milley to face a court-martial over phone calls to China.Calls for Milley's ouster stem from a Washington Post article on Tuesday about two phone calls the general reportedly made to General Li Zuocheng of China on October 30, 2020, and January 8, 2021.
Gen. Mark Milley said Friday that the calls he made to China during the waning months of former President's administration were "routine" and "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his post, the Associated Press reported.
The comments from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were the first he has made publicly since coming under fire amid reports that he'd twice called Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army with assurances that the U.S. would not abruptly attack or initiate a war with China.
Biden says he has ‘complete confidence’ in Milley amid book disclosures
The White House affirmed on Wednesday that it was standing by Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who according to a new book may have circumvented the military chain of command by reassuring a Chinese general he would warn Beijing if then-President Trump ordered a nuclear attack on the rival superpower. "The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing. The president reiterated that message himself about an hour later as he met with business leaders at the White House. “I have great confidence in Gen.
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. attack on China, according to the book.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Milley on Friday offered only a brief defense of his calls, saying he plans a deeper discussion about the matter forwhen he testifies at a hearing later in September.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Let's get to it.
"I think it's best that I reserve my comments on the record until I do that in front of the lawmakers who have the lawful responsibility to oversee the," Milley said. "I'll go into any level of detail Congress wants to go into in a couple of weeks."
Milley and U.S. Defense Secretaryare scheduled to testify Sept. 28 before the Armed Services Committee, in what initially was going to be a hearing on the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the chaotic evacuation of Americans, Afghans and others from that country.
Now, however, Milley is expected to face tough questioning on the telephone calls, which came during Trump's turbulent last months in office as he challenged the results of the 2020 election. The second call, on Jan. 8, came two days after a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying's White House victory.
Trump claims Biden won't fire Milley for fear of him 'spilling the dirty secrets' on Afghanistan
Former President Donald Trump said President Joe Biden has not taken action against Gen. Mark Milley because the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman may harbor "dirty secrets" about the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. © Provided by Washington Examiner According to a forthcoming book, Milley promised to give his Chinese counterpart advance notice if Trump ordered a strike against China. The reporting ignited a maelstrom of calls from Republicans and military veterans for the top military official to resign or be fired.
A special House committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol has asked for details about Milley's calls. U.S. Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and, R-Wyo., leaders of the committee, have also sought records related to the November election, the transfer of power from Trump to Biden and the riot.
Milley was appointed Joint Chiefs chairman by Trump in 2019 and has remained in that post in the Biden administration. As chairman, Milley is the top military adviser to the president and to the defense secretary.
The White House and thechief have said they continue to have full trust and confidence in Milley.
The new book says Milley, fearful of Trump's actions late in his term, twice called his Chinese counterpart to assure him that the U.S. was not going to attack China. One call took place on Oct. 30, four days before the American election. The second call was on Jan. 8, less than two weeks before Biden's inauguration and two days after the insurrection at the Capitol by supporters of Trump.
Some U.S. lawmakers have said Milley overstepped his authority, and they have called for Biden to fire him. Trump blasted Milley as treasonous, called him "a complete nutjob" and said Milley "never told me about calls being made to China."
Biden has 'great confidence' in Milley after secret actions in Trump's final months
A former official told ABC News that then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper was actually the first official to initiate similar outreach to China."I have great confidence in Gen. Milley," Biden told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega, during an event at the White House.
Biden told reporters after the disclosures in the book that "I have great confidence in Gen. Milley."
Milley's office, in a statement this week, said the calls were intended to convey "reassurance" to the Chinese military and were in line with his responsibilities as Joint Chiefs chairman.
The statement from Milley spokesman Col. Dave Butler also said that the calls were "staffed, coordinated and communicated" with the Pentagon and other federal agencies.
According to the book, which the AP obtained, Milley assured his Chinese counterpart in the first call that "the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay." It said he told Li, "We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you."
"If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise," Milley reportedly said.
Milley spoke with a number of other military leaders around the world after the Jan. 6 riot; they included leaders from the United Kingdom, Russia and Pakistan. A description of those calls in January referred to "several" other counterparts that Milley spoke to with similar messages of reassurance that the U.S. government was strong and in control.
The second call was meant to placate Chinese fears about the events of Jan. 6. But the book reports that Li wasn't as easily assuaged, even after Milley promised him: "We are 100 percent steady. Everything's fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes."
Trump complained aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford 'doesn't look right'
Former President Donald Trump was fixated with the Navy's supercarrier USS Gerald Ford, complaining to senior military officers that the $13billion ship 'just doesn't look right,' according to a new book.‘I know aesthetics,’ Trump reportedly told senior military leaders when he told them he didn’t like the ship’s high cost, the advanced weapons elevators used to transport arms aboard, and the location of the ‘island’ - or command center - on the ship’s deck.
In response to the book, U.S. Sen., R-Fla., urged Biden to fire Milley, saying the general worked to "actively undermine" the American commander in chief, Trump.
Top US general: whisperer to presidents, target of intrigue .
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gen. Mark Milley has been the target of more political intrigue and debate in two years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff than any of his recent predecessors were in four. One after another, political firestorms have ignited around him — unusual for an officer who by law is a whisperer to presidents and by custom is careful to stay above the political fray. From racial injustice and domestic extremism to nuclear weapons and the fitness of Donald Trump as commander in chief, Milley has become entangled in politically charged issues, regularly thrusting him into the news headlines.