In the afternoon hours of Tuesday, after reports that then-President Donald Trump’s top military adviser had formulated secret plans if the chief of staff went “junk” after riots on January 6, the former president took the phone and called several close associates and TV-minded political allies . According to two people familiar with the case, the twice-accused former president sounded testy and had a simple request:
He wanted his prominent supporters to appear on television and publicly this week that General Mark Milley should be “arrested” for “treason.”
They followed his orders as different ITSELF–faithful knowledgeable and Trumpy candidates-including Ohio U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, Trump-affiliated TPUSA frontman Charlie Kirk and several former Trump officials-dutifully repeated the accusation of “treason” on social media. And on Tuesday night, the twice-accused former U.S. president was on a Newsmax show that hosted his former White House using the T-word.
“I’ve had so many calls today that say it’s treason,” Trump told Newsmax hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith. Later in the evening, the former president issued a written statement through his office calling him “‘Dumbass’ General Mark Milley”, adding that if the report is correct, “I assume he would be tried for TREASON, taking would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the president’s back and telling China he would notify them ‘of an attack’. “
The movements were triggered by revelations from an upcoming book, Danger, by veteran Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, who portray Milley walking behind the president’s back to prepare a potentially “junk” nuclear-firing order from Trump and assure Chinese military officials that the US government did not intend to strike at China in the midst of chaos at the 2020 election.
The day after the deadly riots in Washington, DC that Trump launched, The Daily Beast reported that “senior national security officials have spent the last 24 hours fighting to find out how to keep their commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, from encourage further violence at home, spill national secrets or trigger last-minute confrontations with international enemies. ”
Excerpts from Woodward and Costa’s work published by That Washington Post and CNN says the president’s president, General Mark Milley – who continues in that role under President Joe Biden – was so nervous about Trump’s behavior in the wake of the Capitol uprising and the election that he felt the president was in “severe mental decline” and that the president could “get junk.” At the time, such concerns were shared throughout the administration, and a senior Trump official told The Daily Beast that the uprising had “changed the calculation” and that “People are worried about [the president’s] state of mind.”
Milley, Woodward and Costa wrote, called a number of senior military officers into a secret Pentagon meeting to review nuclear launch procedures and told them to ignore orders for a nuclear launch unless Milley was involved, according to CNN. “Whatever you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure.”
It is unclear what Milley allegedly referred to, as there are no statutory requirements for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to be involved in or consulted on the launch of a nuclear weapon.
In the United States, the president has “exclusive competence” to fire nuclear weapons, meaning that no one in the armed forces or the Cabinet must agree or agree with his decision to launch nuclear weapons, insofar as the order is lawful under the laws of war.
What constitutes an illegal nuclear launch order, however, remains murky, as the destructive power of nuclear weapons is inherently tense with the criteria for legitimate targeted decisions such as military necessity, segregation, proportionality, and unnecessary suffering.
Issues of nuclear launch authority under Trump’s erratic personality have followed senior military officials throughout the former president’s term. In 2017, General John Hyten, the former head of Strategic Command in charge of nuclear forces, removed concerns. In the event of a requested nuclear attack, Hyten said he would “advise the president” and if asked to do something illegal, “I would say ‘Mr President, it is illegal'” and instead work with Commander-in-Chief to find a suitable legal alternative.
In the wake of the uprising, House President Nancy Pelosi also called Milley to urge the president to take unspecified “available measures” to ensure an “unhindered” President Trump could not launch a nuclear attack.
Woodward and Costa report that Milley also made two phone calls to China’s top military officer, General Li Zuocheng, before and after the election to reassure the Chief of the People’s Liberation Army that the United States did not plan to attack China and that the US government was stable in the wake. on the Capitol Uprising.
In an appearance on Newsmax TV on Tuesday, Trump fumbled over reports of Milley’s alleged calls to China’s supreme general.
“So first of all, if that’s actually true – which is hard to believe he would have called China and done these things and was willing to advise them before an attack – it’s treason,” Trump said.
The idea was “totally ridiculous” according to Trump. “For him to say that I myself would think of attacking China, I think [Milley is] just trying to get out of his incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan, the dumbest thing anyone has seen, ”the ex-boss continued.
Pentagon officials on Tuesday told Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin that Milley did not “insert[ed] itself ”into the chain of command, but simply “reviewed” existing protocol.
As with many of his top officials, Trump’s relationship with his former top general has deteriorated over time. Milley, who surpassed the standards of civil-military relations by appearing in a photo with the president after federal law enforcement beat and teared gaseous Black Lives Matter protests in Lafayette Square Park, subsequently apologized for the “mistake” and said it had “created” a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. ”
Trump, Wall Street Journal Reporter Michael C Bender wrote in another recent book, took care of the apology and called Milley “weak” for doing so. And at a rally in August in Alabama, the former president publicly blew up Milley, saying “This guy does not have what it takes.”