House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Friday she spoke with chief of staff’s chairman Mark Milley about the precautions available that would prevent “an unstable president” – Donald Trump – from “ordering a nuclear strike” or even access atomic launch codes and other militaries to start hostilities.
“This awkward president’s situation couldn’t be more dangerous, and we must do everything possible to protect the American people from their unbalanced attack on our country and democracy,” Pelosi, D-Calif., Said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers.
Pelosi told lawmakers at a meeting that Milley had assured her that there were steps currently in place that would prevent Trump from ordering a nuclear launch.
A spokesman for the Office of the Joint Chiefs said Pelosi initiated a call to Milley and “answered her questions about the nuclear command process.”
The Pentagon and the National Security Council did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Speaks during her weekly press conference in Washington on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
Caroline Brehman | CQ Appeal, Inc. | Getty Images
Pelosi’s letter comes two days after a crowd of Trump supporters outside and inside the US Capitol on the heels of a rally where the president encouraged them to “fight” with him to prevent Joe Biden from becoming the next president the United States will. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in connection with the riot.
The section of the letter relating to her conversation with Milley is titled “Preventing a Clumsy President from Using the Nuclear Codes”.
“This morning I spoke with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to discuss the precautions available to prevent an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi wrote.
Air Force General John Hyten, who is currently Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech three years ago that he would refuse to carry out an order from Trump to shoot down nuclear weapons if he considered such an order “illegal” consider.
Pelosi, Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and other Democratic lawmakers have called for Trump to be removed from office either by invoking the 25th amendment to the Constitution or by impeachment.
In her letter, Pelosi told lawmakers: “Nearly fifty years ago, after years of Congress empowering Republicans in Congress, they finally told the president [Richard] Nixon that it was time to go. “
“Today, after the dangerous and inflammatory actions by the president, Republicans in Congress must follow suit and urge Trump to leave office immediately. If the president does not leave office immediately and willingly, Congress will continue our action.”
James Schlesinger, who was Nixon’s secretary of defense, said that in the final days of the Watergate crisis, he ordered military commanders to contact him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in case Nixon ordered a nuclear launch.
At the time, Nixon was drinking a lot when he lost public and congressional support.
During a meeting, according to The Final Days, a book about the end of his presidency, Nixon told a group of Congressmen, “I can go to my office and pick up a phone and in 25 minutes millions of people will be dead.”
This prompted Senator Alan Cranston, D-Calif., Schlesinger of “warning of the need to prevent a obsessed president from plunging us into a Holocaust.”
Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis blamed the president for Wednesday’s uprising, saying Trump used his office to “destroy confidence in our election and poison our respect for fellow citizens.”
Earlier this week, Mattis and the nation’s nine other living former defense ministers warned in a Washington Post statement that the U.S. military should play no role in determining election results.
“Each of us has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies at home and abroad. We have not sworn it to any individual or party,” the group wrote.
The group also urged Trump’s incumbent Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and other political figures and officials “not to take any political action that undermines election results or hampers the success of the new team.”