Donald Trump and other Republicans are hopping mad about reports that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff secretly called his Chinese counterpart because he was worried about Trump's mental state in the last months of his presidency—though the former president believes the report in Bob Woodward's new book Peril is "fake news." In a statement on his website, Trump called Gen. Mark A. Milley a "dumbass" and said that if the report is true, he "should be tried for treason." On Newsmax Tuesday night, Trump told Sean Spicer the idea that he'd order a nuclear strike on China, as Milley reportedly feared, was "totally ridiculous," USA Today. According to Peril, Milley reassured his counterpart that the US would not strike China and said that if there was going to be an attack, he would call him in advance.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also called Milley "treasonous" and urged President Biden to fire him. GOP Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that Milley should be "questioned under oath, if not with a polygraph test" and court-martialed if the reports are true. Biden, however, said Wednesday that he has "great confidence" in Milley. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Wednesday briefing that the president has "complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our Constitution," per the Hill. Psaki noted that in the final months of Trump's presidency, administration officials had been "questioning his stability, his behavior, and his suitability to oversee the national security of the United States."
A spokesman for Milley confirmed some of Peril's reporting Wednesday, the Washington Post reports. Col. Dave Butler said Milley had acted constitutionally with his calls to Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army. He said Milley regularly "communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia" to reduce tensions and avoid unintentional conflict. "His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability," Butler said. (Read more Mark Milley stories.)