Republicans have long expressed misgivings about U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, such as during a 2021 House Armed Services Committee hearing when he defended the teaching of critical race theory at West Point.
However, one conservative lawmaker recently suggested that Milley may have been “compromised” by China.
Congressman claims Milley said not to shoot down Chinese balloon
According to the Washington Examiner, that allegation was leveled by Tennessee Republican Rep. Tim Burchett this week as he spoke to fellow members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I fear that the U.S. government has been compromised by the Communist Chinese,” the Republican congressman was quoted as saying.
Burchett’s comments were made in reference to reports that President Joe Biden was advised by officials not to have the military shoot down a Chinese spy balloon as soon as it was detected.
The balloon was first observed over Montana last month, a state which the Wall Street Journal pointed out is home to Malmstrom Air Force Base and its 150 nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Milley contacted Chinese officials during January 6 riot
“From what I understand, Gen. Milley said, ‘No, it should not.’ And then it was allowed to traverse the entire continental United States of America,” Burchett continued.
Further, he noted that Milley “was the same general under President Trump, at the end of his presidency, that actually spoke with the Chinese apparently, unbeknownst to the White House.”
Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa wrote in their 2021 book “Peril” that Milley, who serves as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contacted his Chinese counterparts as the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill unfolded.
“If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” the authors quoted Milley as saying.
Pentagon spokesman: “Milley is not a partisan actor”
Milley subsequently told the Senate that he made the call due to “concerning intelligence” indicating that China was worried about an attack.
“I know, I am certain, that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese and it was my directed responsibility to convey presidential orders and intent,” he said. “My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent: stay calm, steady, and de-escalate. We are not going to attack you.”
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Butler told the Examiner, “Political attacks on the U.S. military are an unfortunate symptom of today’s hyper partisan environment. General Milley is not a partisan actor and the U.S. military is not a partisan institution. It’s potentially damaging to our national defense when people use them for political purposes.”