White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, chairman Wednesday using a partisan narrative about the events of the past year to create a context in which his actions seemed more palatable.
Psaki was asked about allegations in a new book that suggested Milley had called his Chinese counterpart in October 2020 and January 2020 to reassure him that the U.S. would not attack without warning, fearing Trump would launch a war.
In her response, Psaki ignored the first call in October, and focused on the second call in January, providing the important “context” that Milley was acting in the wake of then-President Donald Trump allegedly having fomented an “insurrection.”
That claim flies in the face of reports that months of investigation by the FBI, and hundreds of prosecutions, have turned up no evidence that the January 6 Capitol riot was an insurrection against the government, or that it was instigated by Trump.
Psaki went on to say that unlike Trump, President Joe Biden would not encourage “unrest” or unlawful military action. The latter appears to be a reference to Trump’s contemplation of using the military to put down riots in several American cities.
Such action would not be unlawful; on the contrary, it would have been legal and constitutional for the president to invoke the Insurrection Act to use the military to restore order. (The National Guard spent months in D.C. after the Capitol riot.)
Moreover, Biden and his campaign encouraged the “unrest” of 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests. While Biden discouraged looting, he often excused the riots as a reaction to “systemic racism” and called rioters “peaceful protesters.”
Psaki did not have an answer for the question of why it was appropriate for Milley to go outside the chain of command, as alleged, except to say that President Biden had worked well thus far with Milley and still had confidence in his top general.
Breitbart News first noted in 2020 that Milley had become political when he apologized for walking with Trump across Lafayette Square. Milley was also said to have feared a Trump “coup” after the election, planning for mass resignations.
Earlier this year, he also defended “Critical Race Theory” in the military and blamed the Capitol riot on “white rage.” Milley also reassured Americans in July that Afghan security forces could defend their country as the U.S. withdrew.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.