Outraged Republicans and members of the public are accusing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley of traitorousness and likening him to infamous turncoat Benedict Arnold, following the unveiling of bombshell allegations from an upcoming book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Conservatives will see Milley’s alleged usurpation of former President Donald Trump’s authority as more evidence of the existence of a “deep state.”
Washington Post and CNN reports based on Woodward and Costa’s forthcoming book, “Peril,” about the final days of the Trump administration allege Milley unilaterally took secretive action to undermine Trump’s authority. In one eyebrow-raising moment Milley allegedly goes behind the president’s back and attempts to convince a Chinese general that the U.S. is not about to attack his country:
Many on the right viewed Milley’s purported actions as evidence his disdain for Trump lead him to collude with America’s rivals and said that if Woodward and Costa’s reporting was accurate, the general should resign.
- “Generals don’t get to have their own personal foreign policies. Period. They answer to the elected branches, and they must carry out every lawful directive and policy set by the people’s representatives,” the editors of National Review wrote in a critical essay.
- “Mark Milley is the new Benedict Arnold,” declared former GOP congressional candidate Lavern Spicer.
- Meanwhile some of the harshest criticism came from an unlikely source: Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the star witness in Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Money quote: “If this is true GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military,” Vindman tweeted on Tuesday. “It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that.”
According to “Peril,” Milley was concerned tensions over American military exercises in the South China Sea and Trump’s combative rhetoric toward China were leaving the East Asian nation with the impression that a U.S. attack was imminent. The U.S. general reacted by surreptitiously making contact with Chinese military leaders on two separate occasions, in October of 2020 and in Jan. 2021.
- On Oct. 30, 2020, Milley called Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to assure him the U.S. was not planning an attack, but that he would warn China if they were.
- Money quote: “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” Milley told his Chinese counterpart.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Milley in the wake of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack, urging him to take extra measures to prevent an “unhinged” Trump from launching a nuclear attack, Milley asked senior officers to review nuclear launch procedures.
- He stressed that while the president was the only one who could initiate a launch, Milley also had to be involved.
Trump responded to the news on Tuesday, calling Milley a “Dumbass,” but dismissed the reports as “Fake News concocted by a weak and ineffective General together with two authors who I refused to give an interview to because they write fiction, not fact.”