Milley had called his Chinese counterpart to reassure him that Trump would not attack.

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Politics|Milley had called his Chinese counterpart to reassure him that Trump would not attack.

General Milley assured China that the United States was unchangeable  and not going to attack.
Credit...Sarabeth Maney/The New York Times

Michael S. Schmidt

Sept. 28, 2021Updated 1:17 p.m. ET

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called his Chinese counterpart successful the last months of the Trump medication to reassure him that Donald J. Trump had nary plans to onslaught China and that the United States was not collapsing, according to “Peril,” a precocious released publication by the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

“Things whitethorn look unsteady,” the chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, told Gen. Li Zuocheng of China connected Jan. 8, 2 days aft Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol. “But that’s the quality of democracy, General Li. We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But ideology tin beryllium sloppy sometimes.”

Yet contempt his assurances, General Milley was truthful acrophobic astir Mr. Trump that aboriginal that time helium convened a gathering with apical commanders to punctual them that the procedures for launching a atomic limb called for his engagement successful specified a decision.

In the days starring up to the 2020 election, the publication reveals, American quality showed that the Chinese believed that Mr. Trump planned to motorboat a subject onslaught to make an planetary situation that helium could assertion to lick arsenic a last-ditch effort to bushed Joseph R. Biden Jr.

General Milley, who had go progressively acrophobic astir the imaginable for 1 misread determination to acceptable disconnected combat betwixt the satellite superpowers, archetypal called General Li astir that clip connected a concealed backchannel. He wanted to guarantee General Li and President Xi Jinping that the United States was not readying to onslaught China.

On the Jan. 8 call, General Li suggested that Chinese leaders feared that the United States authorities was unstable. He pressed General Milley implicit the people of an hr and a fractional astir whether the subject was going to instrumentality action.

General Li feared that Mr. Trump mightiness beryllium trying to find a infinitesimal that helium could prehend connected to stay successful power, akin to Hitler’s exploitation successful 1933 of an arson occurrence astatine the German Reichstag to assistance institute exigency powers, the publication said.

Some Republicans person expressed choler astir General Milley’s calls to China, but President Biden said earlier this month that helium had “great confidence” successful him.

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