President Biden has “complete confidence” in Gen. Mark Milley to hold on as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff after a forthcoming book reported extraordinary measures Milley took at the top of the Trump administration to guard against a possible missile launch.
“The president knows Gen. Milley. He has been chairman of the Joint Chiefs for nearly eight months of his presidency,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at an appointment. “They’ve worked side by side through a spread of international events, and therefore the president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our Constitution.”
Psaki offered to protect Milley’s reported actions, citing Trump’s erratic behavior at the end of his first term in office.
“The outgoing president of the United States during this era of your time fomented unrest resulting in an insurrection and an attack on our nation’s capital on Jan. 6… one among the darkest days in our nation’s history,” Psaki said.
Psaki cited past commentary and reporting from former Trump officials “questioning his stability, his behavior, and his suitability to oversee the national security of us .”
Milley has come under criticism and faced calls from some Republicans to resign following reports from a replacement book from Washington Post reporters that details two calls to his Chinese counterpart within the final months of the Trump administration.
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported in “Peril” that Milley sought to reassure the Chinese that the U.S. wouldn’t perform a military strike against China, and later told his counterpart that he would warn him of an impending strike.
The authors also reported Milley held a meeting with senior officers to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, insisting that he be involved within the approval of such a strike.