by Jonathan Lemire
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fearing the actions of Donald Trump in his final weeks as president, the top United States military official twice assured his Chinese counterpart that the two nations would not go to war, according to an upcoming book.
Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told General Li Xuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States would not strike. There was a call on October 30, 2020, four days before the election that defeated Trump. The second call was on January 8, 2021, just two days after a rebellion in the US Capitol by supporters of the outgoing chief executive.
According to the book “Peril” by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley promised Lee that he would warn his counterpart in the event of a US attack.
“General Lee, I want to assure you that the US government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him in the first call, according to the book. “We’re not going to attack you or do any kinetic operations.”
“If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not surprising,” Miley reportedly said.
The selection of the book, to be released next week, was first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
The second call was to allay Chinese fears about the events of January 6. But the book points out that Lee was not so easily pacified, even though Miley promised him, “We are 100 percent stable. Everything is great. But democracy can be crooked at times.”
Milley believed the president suffered a mental decline after the election, agreeing with a view shared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a phone call that took place on January 8, according to officials.
Pelosi said earlier that she had spoken to Milley that day about the “precautions available” to prevent Trump from launching military action or ordering a nuclear launch, and told aides he had been given unspecified assurances. That for a long time there were security measures.
According to the book, Milley called the admiral overseeing the US Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for Asia and the Pacific, and recommended the postponement of upcoming military exercises. He also asked senior officials to take an “oath” that Milley was to attend if Trump ordered the launch of nuclear weapons, according to the book.
Milley was appointed by Trump in 2018 and later attracted the wrath of the president when he expressed regret for participating in a June 2020 photo op with Trump, when federal law enforcement opened fire on peaceful protesters near the White House. Cleared a park so Trump could stand in a nearby damaged church. .
A request for comment from Miley was not immediately returned. Milley’s second warning to Beijing came after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mike Esper and filled several top positions with interim officeholders loyal to him.
The book offers new insight into Trump’s efforts to stay in power despite losing the election to Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump refused to budge and offered false claims that the election had been stolen. He repeatedly pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, for refusing to certify election results at the Capitol on January 6, an event that was later interrupted by a crowd.
Pence writes the book, called by Dan Quayle, a former vice president and fellow Indiana Republican, to see if there is any way he can accede to Trump’s request. Quayle said not at all.
“Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Let it be. Put it away,” Quayle said according to the book.
Pence eventually agreed. He rallied Trump to confirm Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump was not happy.
According to the book, Trump replied, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore, if you don’t,” he later told his vice president, “You betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing.” “
Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed reporting.