The Biden administration defends Mark Milley’s calls with China, praising his “confidence in leadership.”
Despite disputed revelations regarding conversations he had with his Chinese counterpart near the conclusion of the Trump administration, the White House is standing by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters Wednesday that the president has complete faith in his leadership, patriotism, and adherence to the Constitution. “Obviously, Chairman Milley has been by his side for almost eight months, and the President has found him to be a man of honor.”
President Joe Biden has remained silent on reports that Milley bypassed then-President Donald Trump in order to reassure the Chinese authorities that the US would not launch a surprise attack.
Colonel Dave Butler, a spokesman for the Joint Staff, said Milley was following conventional protocols and seeking to reassure the Chinese authorities in the wake of incorrect intelligence.
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs communicates regularly with Defense Chiefs across the world, including China and Russia,” Butler added. “These discussions are critical for increasing mutual understanding of US national security interests, lowering tensions, giving clarity, and avoiding unintended repercussions or conflict,” says the report.
Milley’s phone discussions with General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army were initially revealed based on information from unknown sources in Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s upcoming book, Peril.
The material was described by Psaki as “anonymous unsubstantiated claims regarding discussions with insufficient context.”