Sen. Marco Rubio called on President Biden to fire Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley after a book claimed that Milley held secret calls with his Chinese counterparts that undermined former President Trump.
"I write with grave concern regarding recent reporting that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, worked to actively undermine the sitting Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces and contemplated a treasonous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party in advance of a potential armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC)," Rubio said in a statement Tuesday. "These actions by General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgement, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately."
Rubio's statement comes after the book "Peril," authored by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa, claimed Milley made two secret calls to his Chinese counterpart. In the calls, one of which happened before the election in October 2020 and another two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Milley reportedly sought to reassure the Chinese that the U.S. was stable and did not plan to attack the country.
"General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be OK," Milley told Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng during the first call, according to the book. "We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you."
The book also claimed that Milley promised to give the Chinese advance warning of any American attack.
"Gen. Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time," Milley said, according to the book.
"It's not going to be a surprise," Milley added.
"Gen. Milley has attempted to rationalize his reckless behavior by arguing that what he perceived as the military’s judgement as more stable than its civilian commander," Rubio said. "It is a dangerous precedent that could be asserted at any point in the future by Gen. Milley or others. It threatens to tear apart our nation’s longstanding principle of civilian control of the military."
"You must immediately dismiss Gen. Milley. America’s national security and ability to lead in the world are at stake," Rubio concluded.
But some Pentagon officials have disputed some of the claims in the book, telling Fox News that Milley did not promise to warn the Chinese of any U.S. strikes. Instead, Milley only sought to reassure the Chinese and NATO allies that the U.S. government was stable.
Pentagon sources did acknowledge the calls to the Chinese, but said Milley only assured the country that there would be no surprise attacks, and that if there was a build-up of tensions, the Chinese would be aware of it.
The sources also said that the Pentagon was seeking to project stability amid domestic turmoil.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.