Defense

Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: ‘His patriotism is unquestioned’

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton defended Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday after a new book claimed Milley moved to limit Trump’s ability to call for a military strike in the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. 

Bolton said Milley’s “patriotism is unquestioned” and that he is a “staunch supporter of the Constitution and the rule of law.”

“In the days after Donald Trump’s November 3, 2020, election defeat, I can only imagine the pressures he and others were under in fulfilling their Constitutional obligations,” Bolton wrote. “I have no doubt General Milley consulted widely with his colleagues on the National Security Council and others during this period.”

Bolton also said he would be “very surprised” if officials on the National Security Council were not aware of Milley’s actions, and if they did not agree with his efforts.

The first excerpts from the book “Peril” — written by veteran journalist Bob Woodward and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa — were published on Tuesday, painting a shocking picture of steps Milley took to guard against a missile strike.

The journalists reported that Milley called his Chinese counterpart during the final days of the Trump administration to reassure the country that the president did not have plans to attack China as part of a ploy to remain in the White House.

He also reportedly wanted to assure Gen. Li Zuocheng of China and President Xi Jinping that the U.S. was not collapsing after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Additionally, the authors reported that Milley moved to limit Trump’s ability to call for a military strike or launch nuclear weapons.

Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler on Wednesday confirmed that Milley had called his Chinese counterparts following the Jan. 6 attack, but contended that such communication was routine.

Some lawmakers and former national security officials have criticized Milley in the wake of the reporting, contending that the chairman took action that was outside the bounds of his authority.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who previously served on the National Security Council in the Trump administration and was a key witness in Trump’s first impeachment, said Milley should resign if the reporting is true that he “usurped civilian authority, bioke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military.”

Trump slammed the chairman in a statement on Tuesday, writing that if the reporting from Woodward and Costa is true, Milley would be tried for treason.

Tags Alexander Vindman Donald Trump John Bolton Mark Milley
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