Esper’s allegations need to be taken with a grain of salt, having established himself as an anti-Trumper willing to undermine the President of the United States to suit his ideological purposes.
Esper reportedly ordered a “backchannel” message to reassure China the United States would not be seeking military action in the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
Axios, in a 2021 report, noted the former Defense Secretary “directed his policy office to issue a backchannel message to the Chinese to reassure them the U.S. had no intention of seeking a military confrontation.”
New reporting from @jonathanvswan: Milley wasn’t the only one who feared China was consuming bad intel about the possibility of a surprise U.S. strike by Trump.
“General 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 purportedly said. “It’s not going to be a surprise.”
Li is General Li Zuocheng, Milley’s rank counterpart in China.
Senior Defense Official confirms to me @axios reporting on Esper’s role in China calls. “Milley was absolutely not going rogue. Esper took the initiative on this in October, Esper asked his own policy folks to backchannel the message. Milley’s message followed Esper’s.”
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