President Joe Biden on Wednesday supported the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, after the controversial revelations of a book that describes how this military command maneuvered behind Donald Trump’s back (2017-2021) and had contacts with China that put US national security at risk.
Milley himself defended his behavior on Wednesday and even admitted that he had contacts with China and a secret meeting to boycott Trump, in what many have called a clear betrayal of the United States.
Members of the GOP have called for Milley’s resignation, but President Biden stressed that he has great confidence in him.
“I have great confidence in General Milley,” Biden said when asked by reporters at the end of a meeting with businessmen to discuss COVID-19.
Psaki justifies Milley
Referring to Biden, Psaki remarked that “this current president, who follows the constitution, who’s not fomenting an insurrection, who follows the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley.”
In their book “Peril”, journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa tell how Milley took steps in January in case Trump tried to launch a nuclear attack; and even contacted China to tell them that if there was or was planned an attack against them, he would be the first to warn them.
Specifically, the work details that two days after the assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters, last January 6, Milley summoned top military commanders to a secret and extraordinary meeting in his Pentagon office.
There he instructed them not to accept orders from anyone, unless he was also in the loop, regarding launching military attacks, in a clear overstepping of his duties.
Moreover, on January 8, the same day as the secret meeting with military leaders, Milley called his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, to assure him that everything was “100 % stable.”
His words did not seem to convince Li, so Milley recommended postponing some American military exercises in the Pacific and held the meeting with his team to contain any possible order from Trump to launch an attack (although there were no indications that the former president was planning something like that.)
The Biden White House backs Milley
Psaki tried to excuse Milley’s actions by saying that Trump’s behavior in the final moments of his term had not been good.
For his part, Milley reacted to those revelations through a statement from his spokesman, Col. Dave Butler, where he basically defended his actions.
Butler stressed Wednesday that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff usually communicates regularly with his counterparts from other countries, including China and Russia, and that these types of conversations are “vital” to promote understanding of U.S. national security interests, reduce tensions and avoid conflicts.
“His calls with Chinese officials and others in October and January were in line with his responsibility to maintain strategic stability,” Butler said.
The spokesman assured that all of Milley’s calls with foreign counterparts are coordinated and reported to the Defense Department.
Alluding to the secret meeting, Milley’s spokesman indicated that the chief of staff usually conducts meetings with military leaders around the country to ensure that everyone is informed of current issues.
Republicans call for Milley’s resignation
The justifications have not served to calm the spirits of Republicans who have been calling since Tuesday for Milley’s resignation.
Trump himself lashed out at him Wednesday calling for him to be tried for “treason” if Milley’s story is true regarding his contacts with his Chinese counterpart, “behind the president’s back” and communicating to Beijing that he would warn them ahead of time if there was an attack.
In an interview Tuesday night with Newsmax, the former president denied that at any time he was planning to attack China.
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday urged Biden to fire Milley for his contacts with Chinese officials. “These actions by General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgement, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately,” Rubio said.