Biden: I Have 'Great Confidence' in Milley

Masked Gen. Mark Milley and President Joe Biden / Getty Images
September 15, 2021

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he had "great confidence" in Gen. Mark Milley—the day after a report showed the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman was involved in backchannel talks with a top Chinese general.

"I have great confidence in Gen. Milley," Biden responded when asked whether the general had done "the right thing" by speaking outside the chain of command with Gen. Li Zoucheng. Milley reportedly promised Li in secret phone calls that he would warn the Chinese general of any imminent U.S. attacks on China.

"I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay," Milley said on his phone call with Li. "If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise."

Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa revealed the conversation, among other unauthorized conversations by Milley, in their upcoming book Peril. The book discloses that Milley also spoke privately with a top Navy official and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to express fears of a potential nuclear strike ordered by then-president Donald Trump.