During a House hearing this week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) came to the defense of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who has faced criticism from some on the right after he was revealed to have repeatedly spoken with a top Chinese general towards the end of Donald Trump’s time in power. On those calls, of which there were two, Milley sought to reassure the Chinese that U.S. forces would not be attacking their country, and he has also been reported to have indicated that he’d notify his counterpart with whom he was speaking of any impending attack. Contrary to those who’ve claimed that he essentially went rogue, Milley has explained how he made these calls in coordination with staff members for the head of the Defense Department, and he wasn’t the only person from the American side on either call.
Still, Republicans have persisted in their attacks on Milley. During the very same hearing where Cheney spoke in Milley’s defense, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) self-confidently insisted that Milley had “undermined the chain of command.” In contrast, Cheney commented as follows, referring to the assault on the Capitol:
‘In the aftermath of that attack, many of the members of our Constitutional system failed to do their duty. Many of them punted. Many of them today are still attempting to obstruct the investigation into that attack, attempting to whitewash what happened. General Milley, you found yourself, in your Constitutionally prescribed role, standing in the breach. And for any member of this committee, for any American to question your loyalty to our nation, to question your understanding of our Constitution, your loyalty to our Constitution, your recognition and understanding of the civilian chain of command is despicable.’
Watch Cheney below:
No one should question Gen. Milley's loyalty to our country, commitment to the Constitution or to the civilian chain of command.
We all should thank him for standing in the breach and following his duty during a time of peril for our nation. pic.twitter.com/NN3foJBYc5
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) September 29, 2021
Milley’s fact-checks of Gaetz’s inaccuracies weren’t the only such move that the top General made during Congressional hearings this week. While speaking to Senators the day before the House hearing, for instance, Milley also adeptly shut down a line of questioning from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who’d asked why the top general didn’t resign if, as the Senator characterized it, his advice kept getting ignored. Milley laid out in response how his role as a top adviser to the president doesn’t involve providing advice only if the president decides to take it. In so doing, Milley also re-iterated his commitment to abiding by the civilian chain of command.