General Mark Milley, who was accused by former President Donald Trump of being worthy of execution for “treason,” is owed “a debt of gratitude,” from the country, according to Mark Esper via Media Ite.
The former defense secretary under Trump defended Milley’s actions for calling the Chinese government to smooth over relations in the waning days of the Trump administration.
“Well, first of all, that statement by the president is horrible. It’s intolerable. It should be condemned by everybody, right, left, Republican, Democrat. Right?” Esper told MSNBC’s Katy Tur.
“One of the two events that I think the president referenced was a call he made to China in October 2020, where he warned them, if you will. I think the allegation is that he gave them information, or something.”
But Esper said he had reached out to the Chinese first due to concerns about how they were taking some of Trump’s rhetoric.
“And my view was, I did not want a mishap, an imperception to lead to some kind of conflict in the South China Sea, between the United States and China,” Esper said, continuing:
“That’s the last we wanted. And it was in a separate meeting that I directed General Milley to to reach out to his counterpart as well, to send the same message that, ‘Nothing going on here. We have no aims against you, that it’s going to be steady as she goes,’ and that’s what we did typically in these types of situations.
He conveyed that message. But somehow it got portrayed that he was a rogue general acting on his own, and sent wrong messages to the Chinese. And again, it’s an incomplete story. Mark Milley did what I directed him to do, he did what other chairmen had done in the past, which, I think is responsible diplomacy and statecraft to prevent mishaps from happening.”
Esper strongly condemned former President Trump for his statement, saying Milley and other service members are owed a debt of gratitude…not condemnation, and certainly not that type of rhetoric coming out of no less than the president of the United States.”