Former National Security Adviser John Bolton is defending Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a new book revealed he promised to give his Chinese counterpart advanced notice if then-President Donald Trump ordered a strike.
In a statement on Wednesday, Bolton said, “Mark Milley is a staunch supporter of the Constitution and the rule of law. His patriotism is unquestioned. In the days after Donald Trump’s November 3, 2020 election defeat, I can only imagine the pressures he and others were under in fulfilling their Constitutional obligations.”
“I have no doubt General Milley consulted widely with his colleagues on the National Security Counsel and others during this period. I would also be very surprised if many of them were not fully aware of General Milley’s actions, and that they fully concurred in them,” he added.
Read the statement below:
John Bolton backs Gen. Milley: “Mark Milley is a staunch supporter of the Constitution and the rule of law. His patriotism is unquestioned.” Full statement follows: pic.twitter.com/vwEIxUVJcA
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) September 15, 2021
An excerpt of the new book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post, revealed that Milley was so concerned that former President Donald Trump would start a war with China that he contacted his Chinese counterpart to assure them that the U.S. could not conduct a strike.
As the Post reports, “In the book’s account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they’d established through a backchannel. ‘General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.’”
Additionally, after Jan. 6, Milley told his counterpart, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Joint Staff spokesman Col. Dave Butler defended Milley, saying he “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 or conflict,” the statement added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a press briefing earlier on Wednesday, “What I can assure you all of is that the president knows Gen. 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. The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our Constitution.”
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