What Has General Mark Milley Done, and What Is His Political Party?
General Mark Milley has faced scrutiny many times. Currently, he's facing calls to resign over alleged communication with China during Trump's presidency.
General Mark Milley has been quoted a lot in the new book “Peril” by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa. Although the book won’t be officially released on hardcover until Sept. 21, details about phone calls between Gen. Milley and a Chinese general have been made known.
As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Milley might have participated in phone calls in which he discussed U.S. military plans with General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army. Costa and Woodward’s book claims Gen. Milley assured the Chinese general that the U.S. would not strike, despite rising tensions between the U.S. and China.
In a July press conference, Gen. Milley focused on his duty to provide the best possible military advice to the president, no matter what his own or the president’s political affiliation might be. “I always, personally, provided the best military advice to President Trump, previously, to President [Joe] Biden, or any other president.”
What did General Milley do?
The secret phone calls discussed in the coming book by Woodward and Costa allegedly took place near the U.S. election and the events on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
Four days before the election between Trump and Biden, Gen. Milley apparently spoke on the phone to Gen. Zuocheng and assured him that the U.S. wouldn't attack China, at least not without warning.
The authors say that another phone call with the Chinese leader took place on January 8, 2021, two days after protestors at the U.S. Capitol interfered with the election certification process.
According to the book, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also spoke to Gen. Milley about safeguards in case of an “unstable president” taking dangerous actions, which might have motivated the call to China.
Gen. Milley has faced criticism for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Multiple former military officers called for his resignation after Kabul fell to the Taliban. The Washington Post reported that Defense Secretary and retired General Lloyd Austin considered ways to extend the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, but that Gen. Milley took a “deferential approach” to Biden’s plans.
Why Trump brought up treason
Former President Trump was the one who appointed Gen. Milley to the top military post in 2018. Since the 2020 election, Trump has sharply criticized the general for his actions.
Regarding the “Peril” authors’ claim of Gen. Milley’s covert communications with China, Trump expressed doubt that the calls in question actually happened. However, he called it “treason” if it did.
“So, first of all, if it is actually true, which is hard to believe, that he would have called China and done these things and was willing to advise them of an attack or in advance of an attack, that's treason,” Trump said, according to FOXNews.
Retired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman also has said on Twitter that if the calls to China happened, it would be best for Gen. Milley to resign from his post. The calls would mean that he had “usurped civilian authority” and broken chain of command principles.