WASHINGTON Fearing Donald Trump’s actions in his final weeks as president, the top United States military officer has twice assured his Chinese counterpart that the two nations will not go to war, book says forthcoming.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States will not strike. A call was made on October 30, 2020, four days before the election that beat Trump. The second call came on January 8, 2021, just two days after the uprising on the United States Capitol by supporters of the outgoing CEO.
Milley went so far as to promise Li that he would warn his counterpart in the event of an American attack, according to the book Peril, written by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
General Li, I want to assure you that the US government is stable and that everything will be fine, Milley told him on the first call, according to the book. We are not going to attack or conduct kinetic operations against you.
If I was going to attack, I will call you ahead. It won’t be a surprise, ”Milley reportedly said.
Selections from the book, due out next week, were first reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday.
The second appeal was to allay Chinese fears regarding the events of January 6. But the book reports that Li was not so easily appeased, even after Milley promised him: We’re 100 percent stable. Everything is fine. But democracy can sometimes be botched.
Milley believed the president suffered a mental decline after the election, sharing the view shared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a phone call they had on Jan.8, officials said.
Pelosi had previously said she told Milley that day about the precautions available to prevent Trump from taking military action or ordering a nuclear launch, and she told her colleagues she received assurances no specified that there were long-standing guarantees.
Milley, according to the book, called on the admiral overseeing the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for Asia and the Pacific region, and recommended postponing upcoming military exercises. He also asked senior officers to swear an oath that Milley had to be involved if Trump gave the order to launch nuclear weapons, according to the book.
Milley was nominated by Trump in 2018 and then drew the president’s ire when he expressed regret for participating in a June 2020 photoshoot with Trump after federal law enforcement cleared a park near the White House of peaceful protesters so Trump could stand in a damaged church nearby.
Milley’s requests for comment were not immediately returned. Milley’s second warning in Beijing came after Trump sacked Defense Secretary Mike Esper and held several high-level positions with acting officials loyal to him.
The book also offers new insights into Trump’s efforts to hold on to power despite the election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump refused to concede and made false claims that the election was stolen. He repeatedly urged his vice president, Mike Pence, to refuse to certify the results of the January 6 Capitol election, the event which was later interrupted by the crowds.
Pence, writes the book, called Dan Quayle, a former vice president and Republican colleague from Indiana, to see if there was a way he could agree to Trump’s request. Quayle said absolutely no.
Mike, you have no flexibility on this. Nothing. Zero. Forget. Put it away, Quayle said, according to the book.
Pence finally agreed. He challenged Trump to assert Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump was not happy.
I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do that, Trump replied, according to the book, later telling his vice president, you betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing.
Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed reporting.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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