Several reporters and Democrats rushed to defend Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s action of contacting his Chinese counterpart about concerns with then-President Trump.
On Tuesday, released excerpts from journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new upcoming book “Peril” alleged that Miley feared President Trump’s “erratic behavior” following the January 6 Capitol riots so much that he contacted China’s top general over concerns of a nuclear war.
CNN reported “Woodward and Costa also write that ‘some might contend that Milley had overstepped his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself,’ but he believed his actions were ‘a good faith precaution to ensure there was no historic rupture in the international order, no accidental war with China or others, and no use of nuclear weapons.'”
While critics of Milley called his actions “treason,” some reporters defended
NBC news analyst Howard Fineman tweeted “Worried #Trump could go rogue, Milley took action to protect nuclear weapons—CNN. So: Milley made a file for Woodward to show that he, Milley, was the brave man who saved us from nukes, not the yes man who marched with Trump to #LafayettePark.”
“I’m glad Milley took the steps he did, and I honor his military service” though “the fact that he had to maneuver around Trump demonstrates how broken things are. We shouldn’t rely on rogue generals reining in rogue presidents,” Bloomberg Opinion writer Tim O’Brien wrote.
MSNBC analyst and former Obama State Department official Richard Stengel slammed Trump in a tweet.
“Lots of commentators talking about how our withdrawal from Afghanistan was ‘embarrassing.’ You know what’s embarrassing, having the chairman of the joint chiefs call his Chinese equivalent to say we’re not unstable & we won’t launch a first strike,” he wrote
CNN and MSNBC had guests and analysts who defended Milley’s actions.
“I believe Milley would do that. Did he do it? That remains to be seen, but I know that general. And his role as chief of staff is that he would call a meeting, given the concerns of an unhinged president at that period of time,” Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., said on CNN.
CNN analyst Jaime Gangel argued in favor of Miley saying “Milley may be criticized for what some may think was overstepping his authority, but according to Woodward & Costa he felt he couldn’t trust Trump and that he needed to take any and all necessary precautions to prevent him from doing something dangerous.”
“What [Milley] did was ensure the guardrails were in place. So I give him high marks for this based on what’s described in the book,” CNN analyst Mark Hertling added.
MSNBC analyst Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said, “It’s part of the deterrence of unwanted combat. I think he felt it important to not end up with a World War I start of a war through miscalculation on the part of the Chinese. So again, I think we ought to be fortunate we got this Princeton grad, tremendous combat officer, extremely intelligent, law-based trying to safeguard the transition to a duly-elected President Biden administration.”
Milley has not yet publicly commented on the report.