In Trump’s Last Days in the White House, the Key Role of the Chief of the Defense Staff

On January 8, two days after the attack on Capitol Hill, General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Armed Forces, called a secret meeting in his Pentagon office. In front of the officers of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), he reviewed the protocols for initiating military action, including nuclear. Half-heartedly, Mr. Milley would have asked to be involved in every decision-making:

“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You follow the process. And I am part of this procedure. “

This is one of the revelations of the journalists of the Washington Post Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, in Danger (Simon & Schuster, untranslated), released September 21. According to them, General Milley was “Certain that Trump had suffered some mental decline after the election, that he was practically manic, yelling at officials and building his own alternate reality out of endless electoral conspiracies”.

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Mark Milley also telephoned his Chinese counterpart, Li Zuocheng, to assure him the stability of the American state and to assure him that there would be no military operations targeting China. He even promised to warn the general of any surprise attack. Two months later, during another call, the American general told him: “Everything is fine, but democracy can sometimes be muddled. “ Milley also received a call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tried to reassure her that America’s nuclear weapons were safe.

“He believed that his actions were based on good will”

The publication of extracts from the book in the Washington Post, September 14, sparked a heated controversy over the initiatives of the Chief of Staff. On conservative online TV channel Newsmax, Donald Trump said the decisions made by General Milley were ” a betrayal “. “I never, never thought of attacking China”, he asserted. Republican Senator Marco Rubio wrote a letter to President Biden urging him to fire the Chief of Staff for this « leak classified information to the Chinese Communist Party, before a potential armed conflict ”.

Opposite, Joe Biden defended his Chief of Staff. “I have great confidence in General Milley”, he said during a press point the day after the revelations of the Washington Post. General Milley spoke through his spokesperson, Colonel Dave Butler, who said that these communications were the role of the Chief of Staff and his responsibility, “Maintain strategic stability”. In the statement, the spokesperson also claims that “General Milley continues to act and advise within the framework of his authority, of the legal tradition of civilian control of the military and of his oath to the Constitution”.

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