Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made secret phone calls to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, to assure him the United States would not attack in former President Donald Trump’s final months, according to a new report.
Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and journalist Robert Costa reported on the events in their upcoming book titled “Peril.”
Milley reportedly called General Li on Oct. 30, 2020 and again on Jan. 8, 2021. His review of intelligence suggesting the Chinese were convinced the United States was getting ready to strike prompted Milley’s first call, as the Post reports.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley said. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
He added, “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.”
During the second call, Milley reportedly told him following the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”
The authors noted Milley did not relay the conversation to the former president and believed Trump “had suffered a mental decline after the election,” as the Post put it.
Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman reacted to the report on Twitter, calling for Milley’s resignation.
“If this is true GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military. It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that,” Vindman said.
If this is true GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military. It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that. #dotherightthingintherightway https://t.co/izsMMCFPrz
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) September 14, 2021
Trump accused Milley of treason during an interview with Newsmax, as IJR reported.
“So first of all, 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 of them of an attack or in advance of an attack, that’s treason. And I’ve had so many calls today saying that’s treason,” Trump explained.
He continued, “For him to say that I would even think about attacking China, I think he’s just trying to get out of his incompetent withdrawal out of Afghanistan. The worst, the dumbest thing that’s anybody’s seen.”
Trump also suggested for Milley “to say that I was going to attack China is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard… I did not ever think of attacking China.”
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