Gen. Mark Milley reportedly warned Trump not to take military action against Iran after the election.
Milley told Trump he would “have a f—ing war” with Iran if the US struck, a book excerpt says.
The book, by The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser and The Times’ Peter Baker, comes out next year.
Top US Gen. Mark Milley feared that Donald Trump would take military action against Iran at the end of his presidency and repeatedly warned him not to, according to reporting, published in The New Yorker on Friday, from an upcoming book about Trump’s presidency.
“If you do this, you’re gonna have a f—ing war,” Milley would reportedly tell the president and his foreign-policy advisors who had pushed for a missile strike on the Middle Eastern country after Trump lost the 2020 election.
Iran was frequently brought up in White House meetings after the election, with Trump “seemingly willing to do anything to stay in power,” The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser, an author of the book, reported on Friday. The New York Times in late November reported that Trump had consulted top advisors – including Milley – about options for striking Iran’s primary nuclear site and was ultimately talked out of it.
At one meeting without Trump, his advisors again brought up action against Iran, and Milley questioned why they were so intent on attacking the country, Glasser reported.
“Because they are evil,” Vice President Mike Pence reportedly answered.
Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, eventually helped end the prospect of a conflict with Iran, the report said.
On January 3, Trump held an Oval Office meeting to receive an update on Iran’s latest nuclear activities. Milley, along with Robert O’Brien, the national security advisor, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, informed Trump that any military action against Iran would be impossible at that point, Glasser reported.
Trump appeared to heed the warnings, and the focus on Iran faded, the report said.
The book, by Glasser and her husband, The Times’ Peter Baker, is set to come out next year. Glasser said they’d conducted nearly 200 interviews for their reporting on Trump’s time in the White House.
The US and Iran have been adversaries for decades, dating back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the hostage crisis at the US Embassy that began the same year, but tensions reached historic heights under Trump.
Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was at the heart of the animosity. His administration employed a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, vying to cripple the Iranian economy via harsh sanctions in hopes of eventually negotiating a more stringent version of the nuclear pact.
The Trump administration’s strategy did not work. Iran took gradual steps away from the 2015 deal, which was designed to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. Meanwhile, a series of skirmishes in the Persian Gulf involving attacks on oil tankers that the US blamed on Iran raised concerns of a new conflict in the region.
In January 2020, Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani. The strike pushed the US and Iran to the brink of war, prompting a retaliatory missile attack on US troops in Iraq that left dozens of people injured. Both sides ultimately stepped away from a broader conflict, but the heightened tensions between the US and Iran have continued into the Biden era.
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