For years, under presidents of both parties, national security officials kept lines of communication to their counterparts in the Soviet Union, now Russia, and China — to avert miscalculations that could provoke war. Milley continued that tradition. As his spokesman has said, Milley’s calls with Chinese and other foreign counterparts “were in keeping with” his responsibility “to maintain strategic stability,” and were coordinated with other officials at the Pentagon.
If Milley indeed had reason to fear what Trump might do to maintain his hold on power — stage a coup, order an attack, even a nuclear strike — then we should celebrate that Milley took action. This is the same man who, in the summer of 2020, dressed in combat fatigues, accompanied the swaggering Trump through Lafayette Park, across from the White House, after it had been violently cleared of peaceful protesters for racial justice, to make way for Trump’s Bible-toting, electioneering photo op at the nearby historic church.
We already knew how desperately worried Milley was about a coup in Trump’s final days from another recent book by Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker. “This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley reportedly warned his subordinates. “They may try, but they’re not going to f— succeed.”