Senate Republicans are demanding Gen. Mark Milley “answer questions” related to his reported “secret” phone conversations with his Communist Chinese counterpart behind former President Donald Trump’s back. Milley is set to testify in the Senate on September 28.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who demanded Milley’s resignation, tweeted he believes Milley created the problem for himself by telling Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about the “secret” conversations with the Chinese, which were published in their book, Peril.
“I think General Milley, it’s clear now, was the source,” Rubio said. “I think he talked to them [media]. I think he portrayed it that way. I think he told them, ‘This wasn’t normal. I had to do this for the good of our country’ because he wanted to make himself look good.”
“This is treacherous. It was dangerous. It’s unconstitutional,” Rubio continued, “and General Milley needs to answer questions about it,” the senator concluded, “because if this is true, he should be fired. He should be fired, and he should have to face military justice for what he’s done”:
If Gen.Milley calling his Chinese counterpart was just a normal & regular communication then why are those calls now newsworthy?
If the account of those calls in a new book is accurate these calls were neither regular nor heroic.
They were treacherous and dangerous. pic.twitter.com/7SCD6llO5a
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 15, 2021
Florida’s second senator, Rick Scott (R-FL), tweeted Wednesday his astonishment at the news, saying Milley’s actions were “undermining the president” and “unimaginable.”
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs actively undermining the president is unimaginable,” Scott said. “Gen. Milley needs to immediately address these accusations & testify to Congress ASAP”:
I don't take this "reporting" as gospel. No one should…but we need answers from Gen. Milley.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs actively undermining the president is unimaginable. Gen. Milley needs to immediately address these accusations & testify to Congress ASAP. https://t.co/FHgmzL73Jo
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) September 15, 2021
Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) comments about Milley were of equal weight, noting Milley has not denied the report, which “raises some serious concerns”:
“I would say some of the allegations seem somewhat farfetched to me,” Cotton said. “General Milley and Secretary Austin are going to be testifying in front of Congress in just a few days. We will address these concerns.”
“This is serious,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said about Milley speaking to Communist China behind Trump’s back. “In an unclassified setting with as minimal number of redactions as possible,” Milley’s October transcript with the Chinese should be released.
“This is more than just insubordination. As a people, we’ve decided that we want to maintain a wall between our commander-in-chief, who must be a civilian … and the military, and there’s a reason for that. Go look at Myanmar. Go look at Guinea right now,” he said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Fox News on Wednesday that if the report is true, Milley should be “relieved of his duties and court-martialed.”
“If it happened he should be immediately relieved of his duties and court-martialed. You have to find out if it’s true,” Paul explained. “We have always criticized in authoritarian regimes where the military takes over. This is very, very dangerous, and if this happened, Milley needs to be needly removed of his command.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also told Fox News he was “tired of talking about what the book says Milley said”:
“I want to see the [October] transcript and I want to hear from Milley, and I will say this as [having] been a military lawyer for 33 years,” Graham demanded. “If the book is accurate and the conversation did occur as described in the book, General Milley undercut civilian control of the military and he should go.”
“But I don’t want to hear from me and you about what he said. I want General Milley to come forward tomorrow and clear this up for the sake of the country,” Graham said.
Milley is expected to attend the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 28 to report to Congress about the deadly Afghan withdrawal, which left 13 U.S. troops dead and billions of dollars worth of U.S. gear in the hands of the military. The deadly evacuation has also left Americans hostage to the Taliban. The number of hostages is unknown.
Former President Trump stated Wednesday that “The only reason Biden will not fire or court-martial Milley is because he doesn’t want him spilling the dirty secrets on Biden’s deadly disaster in Afghanistan”:
"The only reason Biden will not fire or court-martial Milley is because he doesn’t want him spilling the dirty secrets on Biden’s deadly disaster in Afghanistan." – President Donald J. Trump
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) September 16, 2021
“Milley never told me about calls being made to China. From what I understand, he didn’t tell too many other people either. He put our Country in a very dangerous position but President Xi knows better, and would’ve called me,” Trump explained. “The way Milley and the Biden Administration handled the Afghanistan withdrawal, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in our Country’s history, would not exactly instill fear in China. Milley is a complete nutjob!
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø.