Washington – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffwith calls with his Chinese counterpart held in the final months of the Trump administration, the revelations of which sparked outrage from GOP lawmakers and calls for his dismissal.
Col. Dave Butler, spokesman for Milley, said in a statement to reporters that the calls are part of his regular communications with defense chiefs around the world, including China and Russia, and are crucial in reducing tensions between nations, as well as to “avoid unintended consequences or conflict.”
“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,” Butler said in a written statement. “All of the president’s calls to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Defense Department and the interagency.”
Milley’s calls with his Chinese counterpart were revealed Tuesday in excerpts from a new book, “Peril,” by reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa to be released next week. Reportedly, Milley had two phone calls with General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, during which he assured her that the United States would not launch an attack on China.
One of the calls came on October 30 and the other on January 8, two days after a crowd of supporters of former President Trump, according to reports on the book.
The authors also claim that Milley said he would alert his Li in the event of an attack by the United States and, following the Jan.6 assault on Capitol Hill, sought to reassure his counterpart that the United States was stable.
The book’s revelations, released Tuesday by several news outlets, prompted a backlash from Republicans who said Milley should resign or be fired. GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said reports said the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs “had worked actively to undermine” the Commander-in-Chief and “was considering a treacherous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party before a conflict armed potential “with China.
Mr. Trump lambasted Milley, saying in a statement he should be tried for “treason.” The former president denied his intention to attack China.
In addition to detailing Milley’s conversations with his counterpart in China, the new book also reveals that he brought together senior military officers after the Jan.6 attack to review nuclear weapon launch procedures and a recognized that if the president could order a launch, Milley had to be part of the process.
Butler, spokesperson for Milley, said the general “frequently” held meetings with uniformed military leaders to keep them abreast of “current issues” as part of his responsibilities as senior military adviser. the President and the Secretary of Defense.
“The nuclear weapons protocols meeting was intended to remind uniformed Pentagon leaders of the solid and long-established procedures in light of media reports on the subject,” he said. “General Milley continues to act and advise within the framework of his authority in the legal tradition of civilian control of the military and its oath to the Constitution.”
Despite Republican calls for Milley to be sacked, the White House continued to stand by his side on Wednesday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that the reported calls came at a time when Mr. Trump “stirred up unrest” in the country that led to the Jan.6 assault. .
“The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his loyalty to our Constitution,” she said of Milley.