UPDATE 9/15/21 1:30 p.m.: Gen. Mark Milley defended his decision to go behind the back of then-President Donald Trump in promising to notify the Chinese of any plans to attack.
In a written statement, Milley’s spokesman, Col. Dave Butler, said Milley acted within his authority as the most senior uniformed adviser to the president and to the secretary of Defense.
“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,” Butler said. “All calls from the chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency.”
Milley also was reported to have demanded a loyalty oath of his subordinate officers during the tumultuous final weeks of the Trump administration.
Conservatives continued to hammer him over the outrageous claim, reported in a new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
“This seems like exactly what Benedict Arnold did in the past,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., according to Fox News.
But left-wing media pundits circled the wagons, going so far as to praise Milley for what they deemed to be his patriotic duty.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has full confidence in Milley.
“The president has worked side by side with Chairman Milley for almost eight months,” Psaki said. “His experience with him has been that he is a patriot, he is somebody that has fidelity to the constitution and he has confidence in his leadership.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press
Original story below:
Woke Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff found himself putting out more fires than a Baghdad oil field as a series of scandals threatened to encircle him, leading some to speculate he may soon fall on his sword.
Following the revelation that Milley had used back-room channels to placate the Chinese in the final months of former President Donald Trump’s administration, Trump said the conduct coming from America’s top military brass amounted to casebook treason.
“If the story of ‘Dumbass’ General Mark Milley, the same failed leader who engineered the worst withdrawal from a country, Afghanistan, in U.S. history, … is true, then I assume he would be tried for TREASON,” Trump said in a lengthy statement late Tuesday. “… Can’t do that!”
Milley’s Chinese dealings, revealed in a new book by Washington Post heavy-hitters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, also come as he tries to deflect public outrage for prioritizing Critical Race Theory over military preparedness in the lead-up to a disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.
Rubio, after sending a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday to demand Milley’s removal, went on Fox News’s Hannity to reiterate that the issue transcended political differences.
“Imagine if tomorrow General Milley decides, ‘I think Joe Biden is senile, so I won’t follow his orders. I am going to collude with Russia or China to prevent him from acting,’” Rubio told host Sean Hannity.
“It is the essence of a military coup, for lack of a better term,” he continued. “That’s what it would equate to.”
Paul went a step farther, tweeting that Milley should be court-martialed for his actions, Breitbart reported.
Couple that with his inept handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and it is clear General Milley is no longer fit to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and should be removed immediately.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 15, 2021
In his statement, Trump also took the opportunity to slam the Post reporters who broke the story, Woodward and Costa.
The pair’s “Fake News” account of the transition months—like Woodward’s prior books smearing the Trump administration—portrayed the Republican leader in a less-than-favorable light.
Many mainstream media reports of the bombshell used Woodward’s and Costa’s allegations to suggest that Milley’s concerns about Trump made his actions justifiable.
But the former president said the allegations by Milley—and political adversaries like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.—that the country was at risk of going to war and that Trump’s mental stability had deteriorated amounted to nothing more than partisan spin.
“For the record, I never even thought of attacking China—and China knows that” Trump said.
“The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad,” he continued. “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.
Rubio, a one-time primary rival of Trump’s and target of his insults, agreed that the trumped-up smear attack had little merit when considering Trump’s track record.
“[A]nybody who knew Donald Trump or worked around him knows that the notion that he would start a war anywhere in the world unnecessarily is just not realistic,” said the senator.
“He was the opposite,” Rubio continued. “He wanted to avoid these conflicts and talked about it openly.”
Trump’s distrust of his military generals and other “deep-state” officials may have further underscored the aversion to global conflict.
He publicly and privately clashed with Milley on several occasions following riots in the summer of 2020 in which Milley escorted the president through Lafayette Square to nearby St. John’s Church.
He later publicly apologized for it, leading Trump to say he lost respect for Milley afterward.
Recent reports, confirmed by Milley, suggest that the general was insubordinate to the president on several occasions.
Trump has fired back, saying his reasons for promoting Milley to the top military spot—against the wishes of other top advisers—may not have been the best.
“He got his job only because the world’s most overrated general, James Mattis, could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him,” Trump said in a July statement.
“To me the fact that Mattis didn’t like him, just like Obama didn’t like him and actually fired Milley, was a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump continued. “I often act counter to people’s advice who I don’t respect.”