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General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded through a spokesperson on Wednesday to a bombshell report that was published this week alleging that he told his Chinese counterpart that he would warn the Chinese military if then-President Donald Trump ordered a strike against China.
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with the Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia,” the statement said. “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 Washington Post reported Tuesday, based on revelations in a forthcoming book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, that Milley was allegedly so worried that Trump would strike China that he called and told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the U.S. would not launch a strike and, that if the U.S. did, it would not be a surprise.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay. We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you,” Milley reportedly said. “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.”
The statement from Milley’s spokesperson continued:
His 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.
Also in keeping with his responsibilities as senior military adviser to the President and Secretary of Defense, Milley frequently conducts meetings with uniformed leaders across the Services to ensure all leaders are aware of current issues. The meeting regarding nuclear weapons protocols was to remind uniformed leaders in the Pentagon of the long-established and robust procedures in light of media reporting on the subject.
General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution.
Milley has faced widespread calls to resign over the phone call, including from Trump, who said in a statement, “If the story of ‘Dumba**’ General Mark Milley, the same failed leader who engineered the worst withdrawal from a country, Afghanistan, in U.S. history, leaving behind many dead and wounded soldiers, many American citizens, and $85 Billion worth of the newest and most sophisticated Military equipment in the world, and our Country’s reputation, is true, then I assume he would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification ‘of an attack.’”
“Can’t do that!” Trump continued. “The good news is that the story is Fake News concocted by a weak and ineffective General together with two authors who I refused to give an interview to because they write fiction, not fact. Actions should be taken immediately against Milley, and better generals in our Military, of which we have many, should get involved so that another Afghanistan disaster never happens again. Remember, I was the one who took out 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. Milley said it couldn’t be done!”
“For the record, I never even thought of attacking China—and China knows that,” Trump concluded. “The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad. In fact, I’m the only President in decades who didn’t get the U.S. into a war—a well known fact that is seldom reported.”