Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley took action to prevent then-President Donald Trump from misusing the country’s nuclear arsenal in the last month of his presidency , according to a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of the Washington Post obtained by NBC News. .
Their book, “Peril,” said that in the days leading up to the 2020 election, Milley also acted to prevent a potential conflict with China. The book says Milley received information that Chinese authorities believed the United States was preparing to attack them. To defuse the tensions, Milley called the head of the Chinese army, General Li Zuocheng, and told him that “the US government is stable” and “we are not going to attack”.
“If we’re going to attack, I’ll call you ahead of time. It won’t be a surprise,” Milley reportedly said.
“We’re not going to fight,” Milley told him, according to the book.
Li replied, “Okay.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Li said.
Trump mingled with Milley in a statement, calling the general “stupid —” and the details of the story “fake news.”
“For the record, I never even thought of attacking China – and China knows it. The people who made history are sick and demented, and those who print it are just as bad,” he said. he said in the press release.
The book, due for release on September 21, also recounted a phone conversation Milley had with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the January 6 violence on Capitol Hill, which Pelosi blamed on a “deranged Trump. “. Pelosi said in January she had spoken to Milley about “preventing an unstable president from starting military hostilities or accessing launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”
“I can guarantee you, you can take it to the bank, that there will be, that the nuclear triggers are secure and we are not going to do that – we are not going to allow anything crazy, illegal, immoral or immoral… to happen, ”Milley told him, according to a transcript of the call obtained by the authors.
“The president alone can order the use of nuclear weapons. But he does not make the decision alone. One person can order it, several people must initiate it,” he said later in the conversation.
After the call, Milley summoned senior officers from the National Military Command Center to review nuclear weapon launch procedures, according to the book. He told the officers that if they got a call, “you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of this procedure,” he said – making sure he was in the know. of any planned military action, the mentioned book.
These scenarios did not materialize.
The book also revealed a previously unreported call between then-VP Mike Pence and former VP Dan Quayle in late December. Pence was seeking advice on Trump’s request to refuse to recognize election results during the Jan.6 vote count.
Quayle thought Trump’s suggestion was “absurd and dangerous,” according to the book. He told Pence: “You have no flexibility about it. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away.”
Pence told him, “I tried to tell Trump”, but “there are other guys out there who say I have that power.”
“You don’t,” Quayle told him.
Pence told his Indian compatriot he had concerns about the Arizona vote. Quayle replied, “Mike, I live in Arizona.”
“There is nothing here,” he said.