The top military official in the United States promised to give his Chinese counterpart advance notice if former President Donald Trump decided to order a strike against China, according to a new book.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was concerned that Trump might start a war with China and made assurances to try and avert armed conflict to Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army in a pair of secret calls during the final months of the administration, Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward and fellow Washington Post journalist Robert Costa write in Peril.
The first call took place on Oct. 30, a few days before the 2020 election. The conversation focused on an intelligence report that suggested China was nervous about an attack from the U.S. because of tensions in the South China Sea.
“Gen. Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be OK,” Milley told him, according to experts reported by the Washington Post. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”
When Li was not convinced, Milley said he would alert him ahead of any impending attack.
“Gen. Li, you and I have known each other for now five years," Milley said. "If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
The second call occurred on Jan. 8, two days after rioters stormed the Capitol, in which Milley again reassured Li that there would be no attack on China.
“We are 100% steady," Milley told Li, according to the book. "Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”
Several other high-ranking officials also shared fear over the president's possible actions. Former CIA Director Gina Haspel told Milley they were on their way to a right-wing coup, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claimed that Trump was unstable, something Milley agreed with. He was also afraid that the former president had faced a major mental decline after the election.
The authors said more than 200 people were interviewed for the book and many of whom did not want to be named. Trump and Biden had declined to be interviewed for the book.
Peril is the third in a trilogy by Woodward on the Trump presidency, following Fear and Rage. As with the others, Peril is being published by Simon & Schuster and will be available for purchase on Tuesday.
Milley remained as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Biden administration and was criticized by Trump in July after excerpts from a separate book revealed that the general fretted over a potential coup attempt in the aftermath of the 2020 election and likened the former president's behavior to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Before that, conservatives criticized Milley for his defense of critical race theory during a hearing in June, prompting Trump to demand his resignation.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the Pentagon for comment on the new book.
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Original Author: Misty Severi