Trump calls Milley story ‘fake news’
Former President Trump on Tuesday blasted new reporting about Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley as “fake news” after the release of a bombshell passage from an upcoming book by veteran journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Trump said the account written by Woodward and Costa in their book “Peril,” which is set to be released Sept. 21, was “concocted by a weak and ineffective General together with two authors who I refused to give an interview to because they write fiction, not fact.”
His comments come after The New York Times and CNN, which obtained copies of the book, reported that Milley called his Chinese counterpart in the waning months of the Trump administration to reassure him that Trump did not have plans to attack China as part of a ploy to remain in power.
The Times reported that according to the book, U.S. intelligence in the days before the 2020 election revealed that the Chinese believed Trump was preparing to launch a military strike to manufacture an international crisis that he could then work to solve as part of a plan to solidify a victory in the upcoming election.
Milley, who was reportedly becoming increasingly concerned about China’s rising military capabilities and the possibility that one deceptive action could spark conflict between the two nations, called Gen. Li Zuocheng of China twice to discuss the situation.
He was reportedly looking to assure the general and Chinese President Xi Jinping that the U.S. was not preparing a strike, and note that the U.S. was not collapsing after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol shook the nation.
“Things may look unsteady,” the authors said Milley told Gen Li Zuocheng of China on Jan. 8, according to the Times.
“But that’s the nature of democracy, General Li. We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes,” he reported added.
Trump, in a statement on Tuesday, said if the story about “Dumbass” Milley is true, it would be treasonous. The former president also attacked Milley for the U.S.’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“If the story of “Dumbass” General Mark Milley, the same failed leader who engineered the worst withdrawal from a country, Afghanistan, in U.S. history, leaving behind many dead and wounded soldiers, many American citizens, and $85 Billion worth of the newest and most sophisticated Military equipment in the world, and our Country’s reputation, is true, then I assume he would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification ‘of an attack,’ ” Trump wrote.
He rejected the contents of Woodward and Costa’s reporting, contending that he “never even thought of attacking China — and China knows that.”
“The people that fabricated the story are sick and demented, and the people who print it are just as bad,” he added.
The revelation about the communication between Milley and his Chinese counterpart was just one in a number of revelations in Woodward and Costa’s forthcoming book.
The authors also reported that Milley moved to limit Trump’s ability to order a military strike or launch nuclear weapons following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.