US Secretary of Defense Mark Milley was so afraid that Donald Trump could start a war that he contacted China to assure them that everything was under control.
After the storming of Congress on January 6, General Milley was also so shaken that he convened a secret meeting of the Pentagon in which he ordered that no one should take orders without his involvement.
He writes that Milley was sure that Trump had gone over the edge mentally after the election loss, where he behaved manically, shouted at his employees and made up his own alternative reality of endless conspiracies against him.
At the Pentagon’s secret meeting with the US top military two days after the storming of Congress, Milley reviewed the procedures for acts of war, including the use of nuclear weapons.
– No matter what anyone says, you follow the procedure. And I’m part of the procedure, he said, according to the book. Then he walked around the table, looked each officer in the eye and asked them to confirm that they understood, something he took as an oath.
Milley was so afraid that Trump could start a war against China that he also made direct contact with his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, both before the election and after the attack on Congress.
The first conversation was after he saw reports that China believed the United States was preparing an attack due to exercises in the South China Sea.
– General Li, I want to assure you that the US government is stable and that everything will be fine. We will not attack or carry out any physical operations against you, he said.
“Peril”, Woodward’s third about Trump, is based on 200 interviews with first-time participants and witnesses, as well as documents, emails, meeting notes and diaries, and it paints a frightening picture of Trump’s last days in the White House.
It is scheduled to be launched on 21 September.
Shouted and screamed
The book describes a Trump who is out of control and howls and shouts and swears at his officials, desperate to cling to power.
Milley’s fears were based on what he himself witnessed, the storming of Congress and also a phone call from the leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who demanded to know that nuclear weapons would not be used.
– You know he’s crazy, he’s been crazy for a long time, she said and Milley replied that he agreed with everything she said.
CIA and NSA worried
It was not just Secretary of Defense Milley who was concerned about Trump’s mental state. Milley asked both the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA director Gina Haspel to be aware of everything irregular.
This meant that Milley actually mobilized the entire US national security apparatus against the danger that the president could trigger war.
They were afraid that Trump could trigger a conflict, internally or externally, to take the focus away from the election defeat.
When Trump refuses to acknowledge defeat in November 2020, Haspel warned of the danger of coups.
– We are on the way to a right-wing radical coup. The whole thing is madness. He is behaving like a six-year-old with a tantrum, she said. Haspel feared he could go to war with Iran.
– This is a very dangerous situation. Should we go to war just because of his ego, Haspel Milley asked, according to the book.
In the book, Woodward also describes the very tense meeting with Vice President Mike Pence the day before the election of Biden was to be approved in Congress.
When Pence did not allow himself to be pressured, Trump made it clear that he would no longer be his friend if he did not reject the election.