Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has been at the center of a political firestorm regarding his actions in the final weeks of the Trump presidency, which has gotten zero attention on three of the five major Sunday morning news programs.
According to the Bob Woodward-Robert Costa book “Peril,” Milley called his Chinese counterpart two days after the Jan. 6 riot, saying he’d warn China if then-President Trump launched an attack. Neither Milley nor the Pentagon have denied the reporting.
Milley’s communication with China is fuelling calls for his resignation and even allegations of treason by prominent critics. However, there was no mention of this growing controversy on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” nor CNN’s “State of the Union.” Both ABC’s “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday” addressed the subject.
In the new book “Peril,” it is alleged that Milley made two secret phone calls, both to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army. The book alleges that the phone calls took place prior to the 2020 presidential election on Oct. 30, 2020, and two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, on Jan. 8, 2021.
According to the book, Milley contacted Li after he had reviewed intelligence that suggested Chinese officials believed the United States was planning an attack on China amid military exercises in the South China Sea.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be OK,” Milley told him during the first call, the book said. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
The book, excerpted in the Washington Post, also stated that Milley told Li that he would warn him in advance should America decide to “attack.”
“Gen. Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time,” Milley added, as reported by the book, “Peril,” which is set to be released next week. “It’s not going to be a surprise.”
The authors of the book also claim Milley contacted Li a second time to reassure him that the U.S. would not make any type of advances or attack China in any form, as Milley promised, “We are 100% steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”
Those phone calls, according to the book, were never mentioned to Trump, as Milley believed his mental state had declined following the election, something about which he shared his thoughts in a phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Jan. 8, the same day he called Li the second time. According to Pelosi, she spoke with Milley that day about “available precautions” to prevent Trump from engaging in military action.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.