US President Joe Biden has expressed “complete confidence” in the top US general after revelations he had twice spoken to his Chinese counterpart amid concerns over the president’s mental state. then, Donald Trump.
Biden pushed back on Republicans’ calls to fire Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley for allegedly undermining civilian control of the military in last October and January calls, with Trump refusing to accept his electoral defeat against the Democrat.
“The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his loyalty to our constitution,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Milley insisted that his appeals to Chinese General Li Zuocheng, revealed on Tuesday in excerpts from a new book by Washington investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, were part of his normal duties.
“His appeals with the Chinese and others in October and January were consistent with these reassured duties and responsibilities in order to maintain strategic stability.”
Woodward-Costa’s book, “Peril,” details the concerns of Milley and other senior national security officials between October last year and January 20 that Trump, angered by his defeat, could spark a conflict with China or Iran.
He also reports that Pentagon officials understood that China feared a US attack and might misinterpret US actions, as a planned military exercise, as preparations for it.
To appease the Chinese, the book says, unbeknownst to Trump, Milley called Li to assure him that the United States was not planning any action and that the political unrest was just the “sloppy” face of democracy.
Even so, according to the book, as tensions in Washington grew over Trump’s attempts in early January to retain power, Milley called his MPs together and told them to make sure he was informed if the president was seeking to launch a nuclear weapon.
Faced with accusations from Republicans that Milley was usurping the president’s power over the US nuclear arsenal, Butler said the meeting was simply “to remind uniformed Pentagon leaders of the solid and long-established procedures” on nuclear weapons .
“General Milley continues to act and advise within the framework of his authority in the legal tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution,” said Butler.
After the publication of excerpts from the book, Senior Republican Senator Marco Rubio in a letter demanded that Biden sack the general.
Rubio alleged that Milley “worked actively to undermine the incumbent Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces and envisioned a treacherous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party.”
“These actions of General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of judgment, and I urge you to fire him immediately,” he said.
Trump went on a rampage on Tuesday, calling Milley a crass epithet and blaming him for the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.
“I guess he would be tried for treason as long as he dealt with his Chinese counterpart behind the president’s back,” Trump said in a statement.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)