Gen. Mark Milley said Friday that calls he made to Chinese counterpart during Donald Trump’s final months in office were “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his position.
In his first public comments on the discussions, Gen. Mark Milley stated that such calls are “routine” and done “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke with The Associated Press and another reporter who was accompanying him to Europe.
Milley has been at the center of a firestorm following reports that he made two phone calls to People’s Liberation Army Gen. Li Zuocheng to reassure him that the US would not suddenly go to war with or attack China.
Descriptions of the calls made in October and January were first broadcast in excerpts from Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s forthcoming book “Peril.” According to the book, Milley told Li that if there was an attack, he would warn her.
Milley offered only a brief defense of his calls on Friday, saying he plans to have a more in-depth discussion with Congress about the issue when he testifies at a hearing later in September.
“I think it’s best that I reserve my comments on the record until I do that in front of the lawmakers who have the lawful responsibility to oversee the U.S. military,” Milley said. “I’ll go into any level of detail Congress wants to go into in a couple of weeks.”
To tesitfy before the Senate on Sep 28
Milley and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 28 in what was supposed to be a hearing on the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the chaotic evacuation of Americans, Afghans, and others.
Milley, on the other hand, is expected to face tough questions about the phone calls, which occurred during Trump’s final months in office. The second call, on Jan. 8, came two days after a protest at the United States Capitol.
Milley was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by Trump in 2019 and has held that position throughout the Biden administration. Milley, as chairman, is the president’s and Defense Secretary’s top military adviser.
The White House and the Pentagon chief have stated that they continue to have complete trust in Milley.
Biden told reporters after the disclosures in the book that “I have great confidence in Gen. Milley.”
Gen Mark Milley are accused of TREASON
Some lawmakers in the United States believe Milley overstepped his authority and have called for Biden to fire him. Trump blasted Milley as treasonous, calling him a “complete nutjob” who “never told me about calls to China.”
Trump said Milley was trying to distract from his own role in Afghanistan.
“I think he’s trying to just get out of his incompetent withdrawal out of Afghanistan, the worst, the dumbest thing that anybody’s seen … probably the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to our country,” Trump said.
In response to the book, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., urged Biden to fire Milley, saying the general worked to “actively undermine” the American commander in chief, Trump.
Tucker Carlson slammed Milley as ‘treasonous’
He added: “How do you describe this? “Deep state” isn’t strong enough,’ It’s treason. It’s a crime.”
“To those who say they’re worried about authoritarianism coming in America, well, it’s here.’ ‘That’s what this is. Authoritarian government. Government by unelected, unaccountable leaders willing to use violence to preserve their rule.”
Retired general calls for Milley’s resignation
Retired Gen. Don Bolduc called on Gen. Mark Milley to resign Thursday amid allegations he overstepped his power during the end of Trump’s presidency.
DON BOLDUC: I believe his actions are irresponsible and they fall somewhere between treason and dereliction of duty. We never would tolerate that in our subordinate officers. We would remove them immediately. Lieutenant Colonel Scheller, Lieutenant Colonel Lohmeier are recent examples. This is — I am being reached out to by many people in the military who have lost confidence in the chairman. There’s a perception out there that he did this. He needs to do the right thing, have some moral courage, step aside. We need to conduct an investigation and he needs to be held accountable for this either treasonous or somewhere between dereliction of duty.
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Meanwhile, retired Lt Col Alexander Vindman argued that the alleged phone calls ‘set an extremely dangerous precedent’ that “you can’t simply walk away from.”
Vindman tweeted: ‘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.’
Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy said Milley ‘should resign’ if he negotiated with his Chinese counterpart and undermined Trump.
He told Fox Primetime host Lawrence Jones: “You give me about 15 minutes with Gen. Milley under oath, in front of a committee of the United States Senate, and I will get to the truth.”
“If the truth is as alleged then, yes, he should resign.”