US Chief of Staff Mark Milley is said to have been concerned about Donald Trump after storming the Capitol, writes journalist Bob Woodward in a new book. That is why he had talks with Beijing.
After the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th, according to media reports, Chief of Staff Mark Milley took secret precautions to restrict the then President Donald Trump’s legal authority over nuclear weapons. The broadcaster CNN and the newspaper “Washington Post” reported on Tuesday, citing an as yet unpublished book that deals with the end of Trump’s presidency.
The renowned investigative journalist Bob Woodward and a long-time correspondent for the Washington Post, Robert Costa, write in “Peril” (danger) that Milley was shaken by supporters of Trump after the Capitol was stormed. Milley was certain that Trump suffered serious mental decline after the election. “He was almost manic, yelling at civil servants and constructing his own alternate reality with endless election conspiracies,” the authors write. He feared that Trump could become “renegade”.
Therefore, on January 8, Milley called a confidential meeting with the responsible commanders to ensure that there could be no military offensive strike without his consent. “Whatever you are told, you follow the process. You make the process. And I am part of the process,” Milley is supposed to have said. After that, Milley is said to have asked everyone involved directly whether they understood him.
Pelosi: “You know he’s crazy”
According to reports, the authors of the book, due for release on September 21, also had a transcript of a phone call made by Milley and the Chair of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi said in a conversation on January 8th to Milley about Trump: “You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time.” Milley, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, is said to have replied: “I agree with you on all points.”
Pelosi, who holds the third highest office in the state, also published a press release after the phone call in January. At the time, she said she had spoken to Milley to prevent an “unstable president” from “starting military strikes” or ordering a “nuclear attack”. The elected Republican Trump “couldn’t be more dangerous and we must do everything in our power to protect the people of America” and democracy, Pelosi said at the time.
Two talks with Beijing
Despite his defeat in the November 3, 2020 election, Trump remained US President until January 20, as stipulated by the constitution, and thus also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Strictly speaking, the military could not openly defy his orders.
Milley, who now serves as the top military advisor to Democratic President Joe Biden, is said to have had two conversations with his Chinese counterpart at the time, according to reports on the book, in order to prevent the communist leadership’s fears of a possible US attack. Milley phoned General Li Zuocheng shortly before the US election, on October 30, and again on January 8. During the second call, Milley is said to have said to the Chinese: “We are 100 percent consistent. But democracy can be sloppy at times.”