The head of the United States Armed Forces was so alarmed in January of this year by Donald Trump’s mental health that he took secret measures to prevent the then US president from starting a war with China, reveals a new book.
General Mark Milley, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, also ordered that his subordinates would not act without his consent if Trump gave any order to use the American nuclear arsenal, according to journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
The Washington Post newspaper, where the journalists work, released excerpts from the book “Peril” on Tuesday (14) that show Milley organizing the Pentagon and the American intelligence community to resist any possible erratic moves by Trump.
Milley spoke with other high-ranking US government officials such as then CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency (NSA) head Paul Nakasone about whether Trump could act in a manner irrational.
The head of the US military also contacted Chinese General Li Zuocheng to reassure the biggest US rival. The measures were taken after Trump’s defeat to current US President Joe Biden and the invasion of the Capitol..
Uniformed, General Mark Milley (right) accompanies President Donald Trump and his entourage on the walk to St. John’s Church in Washington — Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP
He called Zuocheng twice: first on October 30, 2020, days before the election, and again on January 8, 2021, after Trump supporters stormed the US Congress. In both, Milley sought to assure China that Trump’s rhetoric would not lead to military action.
Milley turned to the secret channel with Li amid concern over Trump’s emotional instability. To calm China, the head of the American Armed Forces even postponed military exercises in Asia.
He also told key members of his team that they should inform him before carrying out any of Trump’s orders, particularly in the case of an order for a nuclear attack.
“Some could argue that Milley has extrapolated her authority and given herself extraordinary power,” journalists say. But he believed he was acting “to ensure that there was no historic break in the international order, nor accidental war with China or others, nor the use of nuclear weapons.”
Wanted, the Pentagon declined to comment. Trump, on the other hand, used harsh words against Milley and blamed him for the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan: “I suppose he will be tried for treason, because he would have been negotiating with his Chinese counterpart behind the president’s back.”.
Li’s second call came after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi contacted Milley to discuss Trump’s mental health (and his refusal to acknowledge Biden’s election victory).
Woodward and Costa obtained a transcript of Pelosi’s call.
“What precautions are available to prevent an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing launch codes and ordering a nuclear attack?” asked the House Speaker.
“If they couldn’t stop him from invading the Capitol, who knows what else he can do?” asked Pelosi. “He’s mad, you know he is, and what he did yesterday is further proof of his madness.”
Milley stated that the system had “too many controls” to prevent extreme Trump behavior and added, “I agree with you on everything.”
Republican congressmen were quick to attack Milley. Marco Rubio, a senator from Texas and a staunch supporter of Trump, asked Biden to remove the general.
Rubio said Milley “worked to actively undermine the commander-in-chief of the US Armed Forces and contemplated a treacherous leak to the Chinese Communist Party of classified information.”
“These actions by General Milley show a clear lack of common sense and I ask them to fire him immediately,” the senator said in a letter to the current US president.
Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich ahead of debate in 2016 at the time of the GOP primary — Photo: Reuters/Joe Skipper