Former President Trump lambasted Gen. Mark Milley and President Biden after the Biden White House staunchly defended the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman following reports that he committed treasonous acts, saying his successor is covering for the “nutjob” top general out of fear he will reveal the “dirty secrets” about the chaotic “deadly disaster” withdrawal in Afghanistan.
“Milley is a complete nutjob!” Trump said in an emailed statement from his Save America PAC. “The only reason Biden will not fire or court-martial Milley is because he doesn’t want him spilling the dirty secrets on Biden’s deadly disaster in Afghanistan.”
Biden indicated Wednesday that he stands behind Milley, telling reporters that he has “great confidence” in the top general.
“I have great confidence in Gen. Milley,” Biden said when asked by a reporter whether Milley had done the right thing despite the alleged treason conduct from the top general in secretly contacting a Chinese military official during the final weeks of Trump’s presidency.
White House officials reaffirmed the administration’s support and “complete confidence” for Milley. Press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to rationalize the inexcusable conduct as acceptable while lauding Milley as a “patriot.” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “complete and utter trust and confidence” in Milley but denied any wrongdoing from the top general, characterizing the “secret calls” with his Chinese counterpart as a routine part of a chairman’s responsibilities.
The former president slammed the dutifully echoed response coming out of the Biden White House by defending Milley, connecting the top general controversy that has plagued the Biden administration this past week to their botched and chaotic handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal to argue they can’t “exactly instill fear in China” after this.
“The way Milley and the Biden Administration handled the Afghanistan withdrawal, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in our Country’s history, would not exactly instill fear in China,” Trump said.
The bombshell revelations were reported Tuesday excerpts of a forthcoming book, “Peril” authored by Washington Post veteran journalist Bob Woodward and Robert Costa revealed that Milley partaking in a pair of secret backchannel phone calls to China’s top general, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, with the first call taking place days before the 2020 presidential election and the second occurring the following day after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. According to the excerpts of Peril, Milley feared Trump “had gone into a serious mental decline” and would “go rogue” in ordering a nuclear strike against China. Taking matters into his own hand, Milley called Li to reassure his “rattled” Chinese general that the U.S. would not attack China, vowing to give advance notice if Trump ordered a possible attack.
Milley, in a statement Wednesday, confirms that he spoke to Li on both occasions reported in the upcoming book but maintained that those conversations in October and January were in part of his normal duties and responsibilities in “conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability.” However, the statement did not detail what Milley spoke about in his two conversations with China’s top general.
“All calls from the chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated, and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency,” Colonel Dave Butler, a spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in the statement.
However, Trump affirmed that he didn’t receive a heads up, as well as others that Milley had talked to China, but noted the calls put the U.S. in a “very dangerous position.”
“Milley never told me about calls being made to China,” Trump said in an emailed statement from his Save America PAC. “From what I understand, he didn’t tell too many other people either. He put our country in a very dangerous position but [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] knows better and would’ve called me.”
Trump has repeatedly blasted Milley following excerpts of the book circulated Tuesday. In a statement, Trump 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.'”
He added that he “never even thought of attacking China — and China knows that.”
Speaking to Newsmax shortly after releasing the statement, Trump said: “If it is actually true — which is hard to believe, that he would have called China and done these things and was willing to advise them of an attack or in advance of an attack — that’s treason,” Trump told Newsmax hosts, Sean Spicer, and Lyndsay Keith on “Spicer & Co.”
“If it is actually true, which is hard to believe that he would have called China and done these things and was willing to advise them of an attack or in advance of an attack, that’s treason,” he added. “For him to say that I would even think about attacking China, I think [Milley is] trying to just get out of his incompetent withdrawal out of Afghanistan, the dumbest thing that anybody has seen.”
Republican lawmakers have also called for Milley’s dismissal, while some are demanding Milley to explain his actions for the two calls.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on Biden to fire Milley, stating his “reckless behavior” conducted by the top general are “treasonous” hours after the upcoming book reporting, tweeted a video saying if the Washington Post authors “made it up,” then why isn’t the general saying “this is a lie, its a fabrication.”
If Gen.Milley calling his Chinese counterpart was just a normal & regular communication then why are those calls now newsworthy?
If the account of those calls in a new book is accurate these calls were neither regular nor heroic.
They were treacherous and dangerous. pic.twitter.com/7SCD6llO5a
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 15, 2021
“I think General Milley. It’s clear now; he was the source. I think he talked to them [Woodward and Costa]. I think he portrayed it that way. I think he told them, ‘This wasn’t normal. I had to do this for the good of our country.’ Because he wanted to make himself look good,” Rubio said in the video.
“This is treacherous, it was dangerous, it’s unconstitutional, and General Milley needs to answer questions about it,” Rubio added. “Because if this is true, he should be fired. He should be fired, and he should have to face military justice for what he’s done.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called for an immediate congressional hearing, tweeting the reporting of Milley isn’t “gospel,” but the top general should “immediately address these accusations.”
Milley is expected to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 28 on the administration botched withdrawal handling of U.S.from Afghanistan — but GOP lawmakers are now looking to press the top general on this controversy him following the revelations of the upcoming book, with the possibility of potentially new revelations to be covered when “Peril” hits the bookstands next week on Sept. 21.