The Washington Post reports:
Twice in the final months of the Trump administration, the country’s top military officer was so fearful that the president’s actions might spark a war with China that he moved urgently to avert armed conflict.
In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, that the United States would not strike, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa.
One call took place on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the election that unseated President Trump, and the other on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Capitol siege carried out by his supporters in a quest to cancel the vote.
Woodward and Costa write that Milley, deeply shaken by the assault, ‘was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies.’ Milley worried that Trump could ‘go rogue,’ the authors write.
“You never know what a president’s trigger point is,” Milley told his senior staff, according to the book. In response, Milley took extraordinary action, and called a secret meeting in his Pentagon office on January 8 to review the process for military action, including launching nuclear weapons.
Speaking to senior military officials in charge of the National Military Command Center, the Pentagon’s war room, Milley instructed them not to take orders from anyone unless he was involved.
Top general was so fearful Trump might spark war with China that he made secret calls to his counterpart in Beijing, new book says https://t.co/cb8ypg6JvF
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 14, 2021
NEW: CNN obtained an early copy of “Peril” from @realBobWoodward @costareports, which details how CJCS Gen. Milley took action in Jan. to limit Trump from launching nuclear weapons, telling officers not to take any action without consulting with him first https://t.co/LDZvBaeKyj
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) September 14, 2021
Pelosi, last Jan., speaking of Trump:"If they couldn't even stop him from an assault on the Capitol, who even knows what else he may do? You know he's crazy. He's been crazy for a long time."
Gen Milley: "Madam Speaker, I agree with you on everything."https://t.co/pcFfZFikgx
— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) September 14, 2021