Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley came under furious fire from Republicans after an excerpt from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's upcoming book appeared to suggest he subverted the chain of command to take over U.S. military policy in the waning days of Donald Trump's presidency, with Trump himself even accusing him of treason.
But in his hearing on Tuesday, Milley clarified he did nothing of the sort, and was conveying the official position of the administration in his talks with China.
On CNN that evening, conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot tore into the Republicans who had been so quick to go after Milley's conduct.
"So Max, General Milley is rejecting GOP criticism of revelations in that new book 'Peril,'" said anchor Erin Burnett. "The revelation, of course, that he called his Chinese counterpart, General Li, twice to assure him the United States would not be attacking China, and furthermore, said he would tell them if we were going to. He says the former Defense Secretary Esper and others were completely in the loop. How important is that?"
"I think it's very important because that diffuses one of the incendiary charges that Republicans have been making against Milley," said Boot. "I mean, remember when the excerpts from the Woodward/Costa book came out, you had people like Senator Marco Rubio and Donald Trump accusing General Milley of treason. That was the word they used for this decorated-combat veteran claiming that he went behind Trump's back to undermine him, talking to this Chinese general. And clearly, there was a lot less to the story than they thought."
"I think General Milley offered a very persuasive explanation that nobody has really rebutted to show that actually he kept everybody in the administration in the loop," continued Boot. "He wasn't doing anything untoward, he was just doing his job. And so, you know, I kind of wonder, Erin, when are Senator Rubio and — and former President Trump and others, when are they going to apologize to General Milley for the aspersions they have cast on his character?"
Max Boot demands Republicans apologize for accusing Mark Milley of treason www.youtube.com