House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed on Friday that she had spoken with the nation’s top military officer about guardrails in place to prevent an “unstable” President Donald Trump from ordering a nuclear strike or conducting other military hostilities as Democrats seek his removal from office.
The stunning revelation came in a letter from the speaker to House Democrats outlining next steps following a violent breach of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by a mob of Trump supporters.
In the letter, Pelosi said she spoke to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley about precautions in place that could prevent “an unstable president” from initiating a nuclear strike.
“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi said in the letter.
“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.
Milley’s spokesperson, Col. Dave Butler, confirmed that Pelosi had initiated the call with the chairman. “He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority.”
Gen. John Hyten, now the nation’s No. 2 military officer, told an audience at a military forum in 2017 that leaders would not obey an illegal order.
“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”