Fox News reported on Wednesday that former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller gave the outlet a statement regarding Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s “secret” phone calls to a communist Chinese government general, possibly undermining former President Donald Trump’s authority in dealings with China.
Miller said that he “did not and would not ever authorize” Milley’s reported phone calls to China’s People Liberation Army Gen. Li Zuocheng.
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest-ranking military officer whose sole role is providing military-specific advice to the president, and by law is prohibited from exercising executive authority to command forces," Miller said in the statement. "The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, not through the Chairman.”
Miller also called the reports of the Milley phone calls a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of subordination,” while calling on Milley to resign “immediately.”
According to Fox News, Miller said the following of Milley:
“If the reporting in Woodward’s book is accurate, it represents a disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination by the Nation’s top military officer," Miller said, adding that if the story of Milley’s "histrionic outbursts and unsanctioned, anti-Constitutional involvement in foreign policy prove true, he must resign immediately or be fired by the Secretary of Defense to guarantee the sanctity of the officer corps.”
Miller was acting secretary in the time period after the 2020 election through Inauguration Day.
Earlier on Wednesday, a spokesman for Milley defended the general’s calls to China — essentially admitting they occurred — and said that Miley “continues to act and advise within his authority.”
“[Milley’s] calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability,” the statement read. “All calls from the Chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency.”
NEW via @CBSDavidMartin:— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) September 15, 2021
A spokesman for General Mark Milley defends the phone calls he had with his Chinese counterpart, as reported by @realBobWoodward and @costareports. They wrote that Milley reassured China 2X that U.S. was not going to strike, which is not disputed here: pic.twitter.com/lvB68FiWk1