Fearful of Donald Trump’s actions in his final weeks as president, the top U.S. military officer twice assured his Chinese counterpart that the two nations would not go to war, according to a forthcoming book.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States would not attack. A call took place on October 30, 2020, four days before the elections that defeated Trump. The second call was on January 8, 2021, just two days after the insurrection on the United States Capitol by supporters of the outgoing CEO.
Milley even promised Li that he would warn his counterpart in the event of an American attack, according to the book “Danger,” written by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and that everything is going to be fine,” Milley told him on the first call, according to the book. “We are not going to attack or carry out any kinetic operations against him.”
“If we are going to attack, I will call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise, “Milley said.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the book. Details of the book, due to be published next week, were first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
The second call was intended to allay Chinese fears about the events of January 6. But the book reports that Li was not so easily appeased, even after Milley promised, “We are 100 percent steadfast. Everything is fine. But democracy can sometimes be neglected. ”
Milley believed the president suffered a mental decline after the election, and he agreed with an opinion shared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Jan.8 phone call, according to officials.
Pelosi had previously said that she spoke with Milley that day about “available precautions” to prevent Trump from launching military action or ordering a nuclear launch, and told colleagues she received unspecified assurances that long-standing safeguards existed.
Milley, according to the book, called the admiral who oversees the US Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for the Asia-Pacific region, and recommended postponing the next military exercises. He also asked senior officials to take an “oath” that Milley had to participate if Trump gave the order to launch nuclear weapons, according to the book.
Milley was appointed by Trump in 2018 and later drew the ire of the president when he expressed regret for participating in a June 2020 photo shoot with Trump after federal police cleared a park near the White House of peaceful protesters for him to Trump could stand at a nearby damaged church. .
In response to the book, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, sent President Joe Biden a letter Tuesday urging him to fire Milley, saying the general worked to “actively undermine the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. United in office and contemplated a treacherous leak of classified information to the Communist Party of China ahead of a possible armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). ”
Milley’s requests for comment were not immediately returned. Milley’s second warning to Beijing came after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mike Esper and held several top positions with loyal interim officials.
The book also offers new perspectives on Trump’s efforts to stay in power despite losing the election to Democrat Biden.
Trump refused to budge and offered false claims that the election had been stolen. He repeatedly pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, to refuse to certify the results of the elections in the Capitol on January 6, an event that was later interrupted by the mob.
Pence, writing the book, called Dan Quayle, a former vice president and fellow Indiana Republican, to see if there was any way to agree to Trump’s request. Quayle said no.
“Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away, ”Quayle said, according to the book.
Pence finally agreed. He challenged Trump to claim victory for Joe Biden. Trump was not happy.
“I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this,” Trump responded, according to the book, and then told his vice president, “You have betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing. ”
“Danger” describes Trump’s tireless efforts to convince Attorney General William Barr that the election had been stolen. Barr is reported to have told Trump: “The Justice Department cannot take sides, as you know, between you and the other candidate.” According to the book, Barr had determined that the allegations about rigged voting machines “were not working.” Barr also expressed his disgust with Rudolph Giuliani and others by insisting that Trump had won, calling them a “clown car.”
Trump’s office had no immediate comment on the book.