Former President Trump went after The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa over their recent book on his presidency, specifically attacking claims that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley called China to offer reassurances after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
An excerpt from “Peril,” which was released in September, said Milley called his counterpart in Beijing to assure them that Trump would not launch an attack on China in an effort to cling to power.
“Does anybody really believe that longtime Con Man Bob Woodward, and his lightweight lapdog assistant Robert Costa, are implying in their book of fiction that I was planning to go to war with China, but that one of the dumber generals in the military called the Chinese to tell them that he will inform them if this action proceeds further,” Trump said in a long statement Friday.
“To make up stories like this and to sell it to the public is disgraceful. I watched that craggy smug face of Woodward as he ‘bullshits’ the public and said to myself, ‘I wonder if history will really believe this stuff?’ How do you get your reputation back? I was the only President in decades to not get us into a war—I got us out of wars!” he added.
The former president also repeated his calls for Milley to be tried for treason if the report about Milley’s call with China is accurate.
Milley has told lawmakers he did speak with several authors who were writing books about Trump, including Woodward and Costa, and defended his call.
“I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese and it is my directed responsibility — and it was my directed responsibility by the secretary — to convey that intent to the Chinese,” Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee in September.
“My job 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,” he added.
It is unclear what prompted Trump’s latest statement.
“It’s incredible that someone is even allowed to write this stuff. We no longer talk about greatness for our Country, everything is about political investigations, hoaxes, and scams. We will Make America Great Again!” he said in it.
Woodward defended Milley’s call to China after Republicans went after the general, saying Milley was out of line to call a foreign adversary and relay information as he did.
“General Milley took action. He put himself … he was in this moment where he had practical responsibility,” the veteran journalist said. “What were the calamities that could befall the United States, a war particularly with China, the use of nuclear weapons … it is unthinkable.”