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During a briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden has “complete confidence” in the leadership of Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who allegedly had secret calls with his Chinese counterpart toward the end of the Trump presidency.
- A new book reports that near the end of the Trump presidency, Chairman Milley had two conversations with his Chinese counterpart promising the countries would not go to war, and that he would give an early warning if something were to happen. In a statement just minutes ago, Chairman Milley did not dispute this account.
On this, does the president feel that these calls were appropriate? Does he have confidence in the chairman? And some Republican senators have called for Chairman Milley to be dismissed. Is he going to keep his job?
JEN PSAKI: Well, I saw the statement, of course, that the Department of Defense-- or, I should say the Joint Chiefs spokesperson-- just released minutes ago. I'm not going to add more or speak to anonymous, unconfirmed reports about conversations with limited context from here.
But what I can assure you all of is that the president knows General Milley. He has been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs for almost eight months of his presidency. They've worked side by side through a range of international events, and the president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our Constitution.
Since you gave me the opportunity, I just wanted to add I think it's important to consider some of the context, key context of this period in time-- of time in history that we're discussing and is outlined or covered in portions of this book. The outgoing president of the United States, during this period of time, fomented unrest leading to an insurrection and an attack on our nation's capital on January 6, which we've all-- you all have covered extensively, of course, one of the darkest days in our nation's history.
Beyond reports in this book, there's been widespread reporting and commentary from members of his own cabinet, the former president's cabinet, I should say, including high-ranking national security officials, questioning the former president's stability, his behavior, and his suitability to oversee the national security of the United States. So those are important questions that need to be discussed as well.