Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal appeared on the CNN Jim Sciutto’s showNewsroom. The guest has commanded the Afghanistan forces and knows well the man the president has been pounding, retired United States Navy Admiral William McRaven. McChrystal stood up for the man Donald Trump has been attacking.
McChrystal said that the president’s attacks on McRaven, who has been fighting leukemia, undermined the military. He also commented on Trump skipping out on visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery:
‘We have certain things we want and demand of leaders. And to a degree, there has to be a confidence in the leader’s basic core values. We have to be able to believe in enough of what that leader represents to feel comfortable following them, sometimes to our deaths.’
‘I think there’s a certain honesty to what’s happening now. The President didn’t go to Arlington Cemetery for Veterans’ Day, and maybe that’s honest, because if you really don’t care, it would be dishonest to pretend that you do.’
McRaven has been the face of the raid that killed the terrorist, Osama bin Laden, in a small Pakistani compound. He has also made the news defending former CIA Director John Brennan, when Trump pulled the director’s security clearance. McRaven also defended the press against the president. As McRavel called it, Trump was the “greatest threat to our democracy:
McRaven told CNN in response that he “did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” and otherwise stood by his previous comments about Trump.
‘Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him. Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.’
Pentagon spokesperson Rob Manning spoke to CNN indicating that it was fine for McRaven, because he is “free to share his opinion:”
‘Admiral Retired McRaven is a private citizen and is guaranteed freedom of speech and expression and free to share his opinion. Here at the Department of Defense we’re laser focused on defending the nation.’
CNN military analyst and retired Lt. General Mark Hertling talked to CNN’s Kate Bolduan. She said Trump’s comments were “appalling and disgusting:”
‘We’re distracting from the main issue. What the issue was is the President calling journalists ‘fake news.’ That was the beginning of the question, and suddenly, he diverted to Bill McRaven, and now everyone is talking about insults on McCraven as opposed to freedom of the press.’
Trump said McRaven was a “Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer.” Yet, McRaven disagreed. Then, the president told Fox’s Chris Wallace:
‘(Osama bin Laden was) living in Pakistan right next to the military academy. Everybody in Pakistan knew he was there. And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year and they don’t tell him.’
When military people are in uniform, they are not allowed to express their opinions.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.