Top U.S. general Milley staunchly defends calls with China By Reuters
By Phil Stewart and Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -General Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, on Tuesday defended calls with China that have raised Republican demands for his resignation, saying he had been aiming to ease tension with Beijing and not to “usurp authority.”
Milley’s comments were his first comprehensive defense of his actions, since the publication that detailed “secret” talks with General Li Zuocheng (People’s Liberation Army) on Oct. 30, 2019, and Jan. 8, 2020.
As Trump’s potential loss to the election loomed and its consequences, it was Beijing that worried about Trump.
Milley confirmed that there was a basis for the story, though he dismissed any suggestion that these calls were secret. However, he said the conversations had been coordinated by the U.S. government.
Milley stated that he was certain President Trump didn’t intend to attack the Chinese. It is his direct responsibility to communicate presidential directives and intent.
My message was again consistent: de-escalate, calm, steady. “We will not attack you.”
President Joe Biden supported Milley during the scandal surrounding the calls and said he believed in Milley. This is the latest scandal surrounding the U.S. top military officer. He was reportedly seen accompanying Trump to a church in order to take photos after the authorities crackdown on civil rights protesters.
Later, he admitted that he regretted the decision and said it had created an impression of a military engaged in domestic politics.
Milley publicly confirmed intelligence that caused U.S. officials to believe China was “worried about an attack” by the United States.
Milley said that he talked Jan. 8, with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi had, according to Washington Post, asked Milley about the safeguards in place to keep an “unstable President” from launching a bombing strike.
He’s insane. Pelosi said to Milley that he is crazy, according to the newspaper, which cited a transcript from the conversation.
Milley told Congress that Pelosi asked him Jan. 8 whether Trump’s actions could lead to an accidental launch of a nuclear missile.
He responded by assuring her of safeguards and added: “I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the President of the United States.”
Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee: “At no time was I attempting to change or influence the process, usurp authority, or insert myself into the chain of command.”
Trump said in a statement that he never thought about attacking China. Trump stated that Milley must be fired after he revealed the original account of Milley calling China.
Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida has demanded that Milley resign. Rand Paul stated that he ought to be tried if the accounts in the book were true.
Milley, a member of Congress who will be testifying on Wednesday, has raised the most serious concerns.