- Gen. Mark Milley offered new details on a January conversation he had with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- At the time, Pelosi was concerned about Trump using nuclear weapons.
- Milley assured Pelosi that there was a strict procedure, but said he wasn’t qualified to assess Trump’s mental health.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday offered new details on a conversation he had with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding President Donald Trump and nuclear weapons.
Milley said that Pelosi in January called him to “inquire about the President’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process.”
The top US general said Pelosi was “concerned and made various personal references characterizing the President.” Milley underscored to Pelosi that the president has unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons “but he doesn’t launch them alone,” he said.
Milley added that he also told Pelosi, “I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the president of the United States.” This reference to Trump’s mental health was not included in Milley’s prepared remarks for the hearing.
-The Recount (@therecount) September 28, 2021
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa obtained a transcript of the January call between Milley and Pelosi, offering details on the conversation in their new book, “Peril.”
The book said Milley told Pelosi there were “a lot of checks in the system” when it comes to nuclear weapons. Pelosi subsequently said to Milley on Trump: “He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy.” Milley told Pelosi he agreed with her “on everything,” according to the book.
The House Speaker spoke publicly about the call back in January.
Pelosi wanted to know “what precautions are available to prevent an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or from accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”
“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she added.
At the time, a spokesperson for Milley’s office told Insider that “Speaker Pelosi initiated a call with the Chairman” and that he “answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority.”
The phone call took place on January 8 – two days after Trump provoked a deadly riot at the US Capitol, and as he continued to push lies about the 2020 election. Trump was impeached a second time over the insurrection.