A new book on the final days of President Donald Trump’s time in office alleges that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley warned senior military officials that the commander in chief could “go rogue” and instructed them to clear any nuclear launch orders with him first.
The book, written by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, also suggests that Milley was upset and unnerved by the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building and Trump’s part in stoking the violence, according to a copy of the volume reviewed by CNN.
In it, the authors say Milley warned senior staff that Trump had gone into “serious mental decline” after losing his re-election bid and was overfocused on “endless election conspiracies.”
According to the book excerpts, just two days after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building in a bid to disrupt certification of the election results, Milley called a secret meeting of senior officials to review the process to launch new military action, to include the launch of nuclear weapons.
“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure,” Milley told the officers, according to the excerpts.
The Washington Post reported the book also alleges that Milley made secret phone calls to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng, that the United States would not attack China. The calls came as Chinese officials worried of a potential attack because of Trump’s instability and existing tensions between the two countries.
A spokesperson for the joint staff declined comment.
Trump nominated Milley in late 2018 to the top uniformed military post over other expected candidates, citing his extensive military experience. But the two sparred behind the scenes over Milley’s role and over the use of military personnel on U.S. soil, particularly to help quell social justice protests across the country.
In June, Trump said that Milley should resign and “be replaced with someone who is actually willing to defend our military from the leftist radicals who hate our country and flag.” Milley has avoided publicly commenting on the former commander in chief.
The new book, titled “Peril,” is set to be released for sale next week.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.