Biden Says He Has ‘Great Confidence’ In Gen. Milley Amid Resignation Calls

Biden Says He Has ‘Great Confidence’ In Gen. Milley Amid Resignation Calls

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
September 15, 2021

President Biden defended General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Wednesday amid calls for the top general to resign, following reports that he committed treasonous acts in working to undermine former President Trump by secretly calling China and vowing to warn the communist nation if the United States would launch an attack.

“I have great confidence in General Milley,” Biden responded to a shouting question from a reporter Wednesday, who asked the president for his opinion on whether Milley’s alleged treason conduct was the right thing.

Prior to Biden’s remarks where he validated that he was standing behind Milley, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to rationalize the inexcusable conduct as acceptable, charging that the “time in history,” referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and unverified reports of the former president “rational behavior” justified the top general’s secretive calls to China.

“What I can assure you all is that [President Biden] knows General Milley, he has been chairman of the Joint Chiefs for almost eight months of his presidency, they’ve worked side by side through a range of international events, and the president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution,” Psaki responded when asked about the forthcoming book “Peril” by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa and the allegations against Milley.

“I just wanted to add, I think it’s important to consider some of the context, context of this period and time, of time in history that we’re discussing and is outlined in portions of this book,” Psaki added. “The outgoing president of the United States, during this period of time, fomented unrest, leading to an insurrection and an attack on our nation’s capital, on Jan. 6 … Beyond reports in this book, there’s been widespread reporting and commentary from members of the former President’s Cabinet, including high-ranking national security officials, questioning the former President’s stability, his behavior, and his suitability to oversee the national security of the United States.”

When asked about GOP lawmakers calling on Biden to immediately fire Milley following the reports, Psaki dismissed the demands, saying Biden doesn’t need “guidance” from insurrectionists.

“I don’t think the President is looking for the guidance of members of Congress who stood by while the President of the United States and the leader of their party fomented an insurrection, and many of them were silent,” Psaki said.

GOP lawmakers have called for Milley’s resignation or to be court-martialed.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) tweeted Wednesday that Milley “needs to be court-martialed for sedition, adding “the deep state is real.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on Biden to immediately fire Milley, writing in a letter the “dangers posed by senior military officers leaking classified information on U.S. military operations” undermine a president’s “ability to negotiate and leverage one of this nation’s instruments of national power in his interactions with foreign nations.”

Just 24 hours after the reports of the upcoming book revealed that Milley attempted to limit Trump’s nuclear power, the top general spokesperson, Col. Dave Butler, issued a statement, admitting the two generals did communicate twice and defended those calls as “vital” and legal within the senior uniformed adviser boundaries.

“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia. These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity, and avoiding unintended consequences of conflict​,” the statement said.

Milley’s “calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities, conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability. All calls from the chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated, and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency,” the statement added.

The defense of Milley from the White House comes after revelations from the upcoming book reported that Milley single-handedly took action into his own hand, conducting two secret backchannel calls to China’s top general, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, vowing to give the Chinese warning of any potential American attack, declaring “it’s not going to be a surprise.”

Trump, in a statement, said if the claims made in the book are true, “dumbass” Milley should be tried for treason for “dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification ‘of an attack.'”

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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