House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked a senior military official how to prevent President Donald Trump using nuclear weapons in his finals days in office, according to extracts of a new book published by CNN.
According to “I Alone Can Fix It,” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Pelosi expressed grave concerns about the president’s behavior several times after his defeat in last year’s presidential election.
The most serious exchange with Gen. Mark Miley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came after the insurrection on January 6, when rioters broke into Pelosi’s office while staffers barricaded themselves in a room, the top Democrat again approached Milley.
She told the general that she was deeply concerned that a “crazy,” “dangerous” and “maniac” Trump might try and use nuclear weapons in his last days in office, the book said.
“Ma’am, I guarantee you these processes are very good,” Milley reassured her, said the authors. “There’s not going to be an accidental firing of nuclear weapons.”
“How can you guarantee me?” Pelosi is said to have asked.
“Ma’am, there’s a process,” he said, per the book. “We will only follow legal orders. We’ll only do things that are legal, ethical, and moral.”
Pelosi was among Trump’s staunchest opponents. Weeks after the Capitol riot she initiated the proceedings that led to Trump’s second impeachment for his role instigating the violence.
The president was eventually acquitted after the Senate vote fell short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction.
In the wake of the Capitol riot, Democrats called on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, but he declined to do so.
In remarks to the authors, Pelosi expressed concern that Trump’s tactics after his election defeat could be used as a blueprint for an authoritarian powergrab in the US.
“We might get somebody of his ilk who’s sane, and that would really be dangerous, because it could be somebody who’s smart, who’s strategic, and the rest,” Pelosi said.
“This is a slob. He doesn’t believe in science. He doesn’t believe in governance. He’s a snake-oil salesman. And he’s shrewd. Give him credit for his shrewdness.”