The country's most senior military officer did not bypass his civilian leaders when he called his Chinese counterpart last October and January, his office said on Wednesday, as General Mark Milley , president ofThe Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried to limit the damage caused by a book that claims he has secretly called China twice. fearing that his then boss, President Donald J. Trump, would start a war with Beijing.
General Milley's spokesman, the Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that "all calls from the president to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Defense Department and the interagency", withreference to the government national security bureaucracy.
"General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the legal tradition of civilian control of the 'army and its oath to the Constitution, "the statement read.
" "appeals with the Chinese and others in October and January" said Colonel Butler, “were in accordance with these reassured duties and responsibilities in order to maintain strategic stability.
Colonel Butler did not speak to the details of the conversation, which according to "Peril ", the Washington reporters' new book Post, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, included assurances that Mr. Trump did not intend to attack China as part of an effort to stay in power and that the United States did not 'not collapsing.
"Things can seem unstable," General Milley told General Milley. China's Li Zuocheng on Jan. 8, two days after supporters of Mr. Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to prevent certification of his electoral defeat, in the second of two such appeals. "But that is the nature of democracy, General Li. We are 100 percent stable." Everything is fine. But democracy can sometimes be badlee.
But despite these assurances, the book claims that General Milley was so concerned about Mr. Trump that he called a meeting with top commanders over late in the day to remind them of the procedures for launching a nuclear weapon and that he should be involved in such a decision.
The Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby said on Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with that, calling him "very suitable for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," as the president's senior military adviser, to want to see the revised protocols ". He added that "I do not see anything in what I have read that could cause concern ". . "
" The President has complete confidence in his leadership, patriotism and loyalty to our Constitution "said Jen Psaki, the 'White House press secretary. 'a press briefing on Wednesday.
But some Republican leaders have taken to Twitter to express their fury.
" I will decline this invitation to dinner with the leader of the attempted coup and famed race theorist critic Mark Milley, "Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz wrote, posting a photo of an invitation from National De Fense University to a dinner and reception in October where the general is the guest speaker. It is unlikely that the general extended this invitation personally; he took Mr. Gaetz to task in June when from a congressional hearing, after Mr. Gaetz criticized military institutions for their teaching on systemic racism.
Instead of objecting to the congressman, as military leaders often do in congressional hearings, General Milley retorted that he had readMao, Marx and Lenin and that "don't make me a Communist.
Yet the last thing the Pentagon wants is the 'appearance that military leaders have bypassed their civilian counterparts, even during the tumultuous final months of the Trump presidency, when Mr. Trump made it clear in a series of meetings, officials said, that he did not. was not against using the military to help him stay in power.
Similar to other published reports and books Since Mr. Trump stepped down, "Peril" details how his presidency essentially collapsed in his final months in office, particularly after his election defeat and the start of his campaign to deny the results. Key aides - including General Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Attorney General William P. Barr - have become convinced that theywere to take drastic measures to prevent him from trampling on American democracy or igniting international conflict, and General Milley believed Mr. Trump had mentally declined in the aftermath of the election, according to the book.
A senior defense official said that Mr. Esper, in the weeks leading up to he was unceremoniously fired by Mr. Trump, also made appeals for reassurance his foreign counterparts worried about Mr. Trump.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed to the Washington report