The United States' top military general assured China of peace twice during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency, according to an upcoming book. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley also made senior officers swear an “oath” that they would inform him if Trump gave an order to launch nuclear weapons. Milley made two calls to General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army as he was worried Trump might initiate a war against China due to his mental state at the time. The first call took place on October 30, 2020, four days before the election that saw Democratic candidate Joe Biden defeat Trump, according to 'Peril,' written by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Milley made the second call on January 8, 2021, just two days after Trump's supporters laid siege to the US Capitol over the election results.
Milley even promised a warning to Li in the event of a US attack.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be OK,” Milley said in the first call, according to a report in The Washington Post. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you,” he said.
Li was not easily convinced when Milley tried to allay Chinese concerns over the January 6 insurrection. “We are 100 per cent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes,” he said.
Milley reportedly also raised concerns about Trump's mental decline in a January 8 phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has said the two spoke about “available precautions” to prevent the president from military action or a nuclear launch.
Milley was appointed by Trump in 2018 but expressed regret for taking part in a June 2020 photo op with the president after law enforcement agencies cleared peaceful protesters from a park near the White House for the event.
(With inputs from Associated Press)