Military Leadership Reportedly Restricted Trump’s Access To Nuclear Weapons

4 min readSep 17, 2021


After the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th, according to media reports, Chief of Staff Mark Milley took secret precautions to restrict then President Donald Trump’s legal authority over nuclear weapons . This was reported by the broadcaster CNN and the Washington Post newspaper, citing an as yet unpublished book that deals with the end of Trump’s term in office. Trump immediately insulted Milley in a statement and spoke of “treason”. President Joe Biden, on the other hand, expressed his full confidence in Milley.

The renowned investigative journalist Bob Woodward and a longtime Washington Post correspondent , Robert Costa, wrote in Peril (“Danger”) that Milley was shaken by supporters of Trump after the Capitol was stormed. He therefore called a confidential meeting with the responsible commanders on January 8th to ensure that there could be no military offensive strike without his consent. “Whatever you are told, you follow the process. You make the process. And I am part of the process,” Milley reportedly said. After that, the general is said to have asked everyone involved directly whether they understood him.

According to reports, the authors of the book, due for release on Sept. 21, also had a transcript of a phone call made by Milley and the Chair of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi said in a conversation on January 8th to Milley about Trump: “You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time.” Milley, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, is said to have replied: “I agree with you on all points.”

According to the book, Milley is said to have feared that the elected Trump could instigate a military conflict in order to stay in power. Pelosi, who holds the third highest office in the state, also published a press release after the phone call in January. At the time, she said she had spoken to Milley to prevent an “unstable president” from “starting military strikes” or ordering a “nuclear attack”. The elected Republican Trump “couldn’t be more dangerous and we must do everything in our power to protect the people of America” and to protect democracy, Pelosi said at the time.

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Despite his defeat in the November 3, 2020 election , Trump remained US President until January 20, as stipulated by the constitution, and thus also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The military could his orders strictly speaking not openly oppose.

Milley, who now serves as the top military advisor to Democratic President Joe Biden, is said to have had two conversations with his Chinese counterpart at the time, according to reports on the book, in order to prevent the communist leadership’s fears of a possible US attack. Milley phoned General Li Zuocheng shortly before the US election, on October 30, and again on January 8. During the second call, Milley is said to have said to the Chinese: “We are 100 percent consistent. But democracy can be sloppy at times.” According to the reports, Milley China is said to have also promised to warn his counterpart Li in advance in the event of an attack.

A general staff spokesman said Milley had regular talks with his international colleagues, including those from Russia and China. These are important to relieve tension, provide clarity and prevent “unintended consequences or conflicts”. Meetings with commanders of the armed forces are also routine. The meeting on the procedure for the use of nuclear weapons had served to remind the commanders of the “long-established and robust procedures” in view of media reports on the subject, it said.

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Trump, in turn, described Milley in a statement as a “stupid general” who was “weak and ineffective”. If the reports in the book are correct and Milley has made arrangements with China behind his back, then he must be tried for “treason”, Trump said. The ex-president added that he never even considered attacking China. Anyone who says otherwise is “sick and crazy”.

Republican Senator Marc Rubio, a Trump ally, said on Fox News that if the reports were correct, it would be “a military coup”. The military leadership should not place itself above the will of the legitimately elected president. “Imagine if General Milley decides tomorrow that Joe Biden is senile,” said Rubio. Then Milley Biden could refuse orders and work with Russia and China, he said.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden has worked with Milley for months and has “complete confidence in his leadership, patriotism and loyalty to the Constitution.” Regarding Milley’s reported behavior, Psaki said it was important to be aware of the context. Trump then led a protest against the constitutional order that led to the storming of the Capitol, “one of the darkest days in the history of our country.”

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