White House: Biden has 'complete confidence' in Milley after China call relevations

President Joe Biden is standing by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley after book excerpts claimed the general promised his Chinese counterpart that he would warn him if former President Donald Trump decided to launch an attack during the dying days of his administration.

"The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our Constitution," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday of Milley.


Psaki underscored the context of Milley's alleged phone calls with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army, one before the 2020 presidential election and another after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

"It's the obligation of every chairman of the Joint Chiefs to follow constitutional orders to prevent unlawful military action," she said. "That's what the president believes."

Psaki also dismissed calls for Biden to fire Milley over the accusations. Critics have condemned Milley for treason-like behavior.

"I don't think the president is looking for the guidance of members of Congress who stood by while the president of the United States and the leader of their party fomented an insurrection and many of them were silent," she said.

"This current president … who's not fomenting an insurrection, who follows the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley," Psaki added.

Minutes before Psaki walked into the briefing room, Joint Staff spokesman Col. Dave Butler released a statement saying Milley "regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia."

"These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict," Butler wrote.

He added, "All calls from the Chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated, and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency."

Milley's phone calls to Li were detailed in excerpts of Watergate journalist Bob Woodward and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa's forthcoming book, Peril, in which they write about growing concerns regarding Trump's "mental decline" after last year's election.


Milley is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 28, along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie.

Original Location: White House: Biden has 'complete confidence' in Milley after China call relevations


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