Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Wednesday cautioned fellow Republicans who have called for the firing of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley to withhold judgment until the general testifies before Congress.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for the immediate firing of Milley following reports that the general promised to alert China of any potential U.S. attack during the final days of the Trump administration.
Cotton, however, said Milley should be given a chance to respond to the reports.
“I would say some of the allegations seem somewhat far-fetched to me,” Cotton said on Fox News. “General Milley and Secretary [Lloyd] Austin are going to be testifying in front of Congress in just a few days, we’ll address these concerns. We don’t want to jump to conclusions yet but we will certainly vet them and see exactly what happened.”
It was suggested to Cotton that the issue was too important to wait for Milley’s testimony.
“I know he will address it and we’ll ensure that he addresses it, but this is one of those claims, obviously, that seems a little far-fetched,” Cotton said of the report connecting Milley and China.
“The idea that an American military general is going to warn an adversary if an attack is coming? As you say, when Donald Trump was never even thinking about a military attack against China. The whole thing is pretty far-fetched.”
“Peril,” a book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa to be released Sept. 21, claims Milley was deeply concerned about Trump’s mental state after he lost the 2020 election.
“We need to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth,” Cotton said. “General Milley will address these matters and we will be sure that he does address them.”
According to the book, Milley told his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng, in a pair of secret calls, that he would give China a heads-up on a U.S. attack. The calls reportedly occurred four days before the presidential election, and two days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
For Milley to say Trump “was going to attack China is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, and everybody knows it,” the former president told The Conservative Digest on Tuesday night. “That is a treasonous statement.”
Trump slammed claims in the book that Milley feared that the then-president might go “rogue” after failing to win the election and might order a nuclear attack. Trump noted he had read recently that he was the only president in decades who “didn’t start a war.”