Media pundits continued to praise Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley after a new book claimed he made two phone calls to Chinese officials during Donald Trump’s presidency in fear that the commander in chief would attack.
MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle said Wednesday the general’s phone calls, if true, would have been “common sense” in a Trump administration he said was marked by four years of “imbalance.” It was a common refrain for the press to suggest Trump was unhinged and unstable throughout his White House term.
The allegation is laid out in “Peril,” a new book from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. The book also claimed Trump was in “mental decline” and might start a nuclear war.
“This is just common sense,” Barnicle said. “It’s called public safety. And certainly you can make a strong case during the conclusion of the former guy’s presidency, there were a lot of people, both in the House and the Senate on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat, worried specifically about what we’ve just been talking about here for the last few minutes.”
On CNN, analyst Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark argued Milley was “within his rights” to make the calls and he would have been “derelict” in his duty if he hadn’t picked up the phone.
MILLEY SECRETLY CALLED CHINESE OFFICIALS OUT OF FEAR TRUMP WOULD ‘ATTACK’ IN FINAL DAYS, BOOK CLAIMS
Several others, like CNN’s Mark Hertling, said Milley was justifiably trying to put “guardrails” in place between Trump and foreign policy disaster.
“Gen. Milley took some very prudent measures,” Hertling, a retired U.S. Army officer, said.
“What he did was ensure the guardrails were in place,” he later added. “So I give him high marks for this based on what’s described in the book.” TRUMP DOUBTS REPORT OF MILLEY CALLING CHINESE GENERAL BUT SAYS IT’S ‘TREASON’ IF TRUE
Barnicle predicted the book would result in a polarizing debate that would have half of people calling him a patriot, and the other half deeming him a traitor. Former President Donald Trump and many Republican lawmakers were squarely in the latter camp. If the report turns out to be true, Milley is guilty of “treason,” Trump said Tuesday.
“For the record, I 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. In fact, I’m the only President in decades who didn’t get the U.S. into a war—a well known fact that is seldom reported,” Trump said. placeholder
“If true, there is a word for it, and it sure seems like treasonous activity to me,” Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., agreed. “This seems like exactly what Benedict Arnold did in the past.”
Perry added that Milley should “absolutely resign.” “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert defended Milley during his monologue Tuesday night, while “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough ripped Milley’s critics as “so stupid.”
“Are you so stupid, I just got to ask, are you so stupid, are you so ignorant of how things work that you don’t know that from time to time generals talk to generals?” Scarborough asked. Contributing writer to The Atlantic Tom Nichols said the alleged call to China was a “good thing” and decried calls for Milley to resign, while Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin said Milley’s “revelation” about Trump raised important questions about the president’s authority to order nuclear strikes unilaterally.
- Milley’s alleged phone conversations with China have been hailed by experts as “common sense”
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