Joe Scarborough Suppresses Most Serious China-Call Allegation Against General Milley

September 16th, 2021 9:34 AM

"Gen. Li, if we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise." -- Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley to Chinese counterpart, as reported by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Eddie Glaude Jr. Mika Brzezinski Joe Scarborough MSNBC Morning Joe 9-16-21That is, by far, the most serious charge against Milley the media have highlighted from Woodward and Costa in their forthcoming book, Peril.

If substantiated, it means that behind the back of the President and Commander-in-Chief, Milley agreed to give a foreign adversary advance notice of an attack. That would constitute an egregious dereliction of duty, and a violation of the core constitutional principle of civilian control of the military.

Yet in defending Milley on Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough outrageously suppressed any mention of that allegation. Instead of admitting that Milley allegedly agreed to tip off China in advance of an attack, Scarborough cast Milley as issuing stern warnings to China.  As Scarborough described it:

All he did was pick up a phone and say, hey, listen, don’t take advantage of the United States. Don’t even think about it. If you do, you’ll be sorry. 

Scarborough wasn't telling the truth. If Milley did warn China not to take advantage of the United States, that's certainly not "all he did," allegedly. Again, as reported, Milley promised to give China advance warning of an attack, so that it would not "be a surprise." That's not defending the US. It's undermining it.

And for that matter, upon what does Scarborough base his claim that Milley warned China it would "be sorry" if it tried to take advantage of the situation in the US? The article on the matter in the Washington Post, for whom Woodward and Costa write, makes no mention of any such warning.   

Two additional observations:

--Mika quoted Milley's Pentagon spokesman's statement, supposedly defending him. But in a glaring omission, the spokesman didn't deny the central charge against Milley: that he promised to tip off the Chinese to an impending attack. If that allegation were untrue, you can assume that the spokesman would have shouted his denial from the rooftops.

-- Joe and Mika were outraged that some Republicans, including Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, have accused Milley of treasonous behavior. Scarborough called them "idiots" for doing so. Whatever the merits of the treason allegation, at least the Republicans had the guts to call out Milley by name. In contrast, Joe and Mika presumably thought they were being cute in claiming "treason does apply to several people in Washington," and "treason is a word that can be used in Washington these days." But it's a cowardly calumny to accuse people of treason—a crime punishable by death—without naming names.

We can guess they're referring to rioters on January 6...and the Republican politicians they see as enablers. 

Joe Scarborough suppressing the most serious allegation against General Milley—that he promised the Chinese to give them advance warning of a US attack—was sponsored in part by Allstate, USPS, AT&T, and Sleep Number.

Here's the transcript.

Morning Joe
6:13 am EDT

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The White House is defending Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley against calls from some Republicans to charge him with treason.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Oh: what idiots.

. . . 

JEN PSAKI: I don’t think the president is looking for the guidance of members of congress who stood by while the, their, the president of their par -- the President of the United States and the leader of their party fomented an insurrection and many of them were silent.

MIKA: I think that kind of counts them out as sort of not—I don't know, what's the word—credible!

SCARBOROUGH: Treason! Treason does apply to several people in Washington.

MIKA: It sure does! 

SCARBOROUGH: And General Milley is one of the last.

MIKA: Treason is a word that can be used in Washington these days.

. . . 

General Milley has come under criticism this week after details surfaced of two phone calls he made to a Chinese general late last year, without former President Donald Trump’s knowledge. The calls were reportedly meant to reassure Beijing that efforts were in place to prevent the outgoing president from potentially ordering a missile strike against China. Those revelations are outlined in an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff writes in part:

“General Milley regularly communicates with the chiefs of defense across the world, including China and Russia. These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflicts”.

. . . 

SCARBOROUGH: These people who are accusing him of treason for calling up the Chinese and saying, hey, everything’s fine. This is democracy. It’s messy. Don’t take advantage of us. You don’t want to try to take advantage of us at this moment. If you do, you’ll feel sorry. And you're not going to have the excuse to say, oh, they were about to attack us. 

. . . 

Here this guy takes steps to defend America, to let China know that we’re just fine. Don’t take advantage of this situation. And now they’re – they’re saying he’s treasonous?

. . . 

All he did was pick up a phone and say, hey, listen, don’t take advantage of the United States. Don’t even think about it. If you do, you’ll be sorry.