Scandal-plagued CNN host Chris Cuomo accused conservative lawmakers and the media of conducting a “classic political hit job” on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on his program Tuesday night.
A new book from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, entitled “Peril,” reported Milley allegedly called his Chinese counterpart two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and pledged to warn China if then-President Donald Trump launched an attack. The report resulted in a torn Washington, as supporters and critics called him everything from a hero to a traitor.
Cuomo concluded Tuesday that, following the general’s testimony on Capitol Hill, those Republicans slamming Milley owe him an apology.
“Here’s your headline: The nation’s top general was set up,” Cuomo said on “Cuomo Prime Time. “He was the victim of a classic political hit job. And we know it.”
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The host admitted he was unfortunately a part of what he termed an unfair onslaught against the general.
“You were told, by political malefactors and by media, including me, that a new book would reveal no less than the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley, directly contacted a hostile foreign nation, China, to calm fears about Trump,” he continued. “‘Treason,’ cried the righteous senators on the right.”
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The idea that Milley “went rogue,” Cuomo said, was “all a lie.”
“We learned Gen. Milley had told people, had done it the right way, had other people in the room,” he said.
A number of defense officials were informed of Milley’s phone calls, the general said both in statements and in testimony. An outraged Cuomo noted that none of those officials “said anything when Milley was being attacked” but instead “dragged Milley through the mud, knowing he followed protocol.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who has called on the general to resign, grilled Milley about the media interviews he admitted he granted for high-profile books on the final months of the Trump administration, asking if he thought those interviews might have “distracted” him from focusing on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“Why didn’t Hawley apologize to Milley at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing?” Cuomo asked.
Along with Cuomo, several other media pundits have jumped to Milley’s defense following the unveiling of the phone calls. MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle called Milley’s actions “common sense.” CNN analyst Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark argued Milley was “within his rights” to place the calls to his Chinese counterpart, adding he would have been “derelict” in his duty had he not.
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Several others, like CNN’s Mark Hertling, said Milley was justifiably trying to put “guardrails” in front of Trump, whom they suggested had been unhinged throughout his presidency.