jen psaki
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
  • The White House defended Gen. Mark Milley as he's faces criticism from Republicans for reports of his actions during the Trump administration's last days.
  • Biden has "has complete confidence in Chairman Milley."
  • A new report details that Milley spoke with a Chinese official without Trump's knowledge, and potentially overstepped his role.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday defended US Gen. Mark Milley, who's facing criticism for potentially overstepping his role as the top military advisor to then-President Donald Trump.

"I can't speak to the former president's experience with him or the former president's views of him," Psaki told reporters during a press briefing. "But this president, this current president, who follows the Constitution, who's not fomenting an insurrection, who follows the rule of law, has complete confidence in Chairman Milley."

The comments come after an excerpt of a forthcoming book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa published on Tuesday reported new details about Milley's alleged conduct under Trump in the final months of his presidency.

Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was "certain" that Trump suffered a mental decline after his 2020 election loss and feared that he may "go rogue," the authors wrote.

Days after the Capitol riot on January 6, Milley grew so concerned about what Trump may do that he privately called his Chinese counterpart twice to assure him that the US had no plans to strike China. The top general also spoke with senior US military officials for them to vow not to carry out orders from anyone without his involvement, according to the book.

The role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advises the president and defense secretary but is not part of the chain of command for operational decisions like the launching of nuclear weapons.

A spokesperson for Milley on Wednesday confirmed the general's calls with the Chinese official and said the move was "to maintain strategic stability."

In light of the book's reporting, Trump, along with a growing number of congressional Republicans, have accused Milley of treason.

Milley "working to subvert the military chain of command and collude with China is exactly what we do not accept from military leaders in our country," Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening. "He should be court martialed if true."

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called for Milley's firing in a letter to the White House on Tuesday. Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas tweeted that Milley should resign.

Psaki on Wednesday slammed the GOP members attacking Milley, saying "many of them were silent" while Trump had "fomented an insurrection."

Biden is not "looking for the guidance" from those Republicans to make decisions, Psaki added.

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