You’d hope that a president of the United States would maintain a levelheaded relationship with a range from the military to the concept of effective leadership itself. President Donald Trump has not. In the wake of that, retired Gen. Martin Dempsey has consistently offered thoughts on leadership via means including his Twitter account that without even mentioning the president by name, pick apart his behavior.
For instance, just in recent weeks when Trump finally ceded to demands to reopen the government without the billions of dollars for a border wall blocking off Mexico he’d been demanding, Dempsey posited:
‘Leadership: the art of motivating people to act towards achieving common goals. Brinksmanship: the art of pushing a confrontation to the limit of safety to force a desired outcome. One is persuasive, one is coercive. One feels like success, the other like failure.’
Trump’s shutdown had left hundreds of thousands of government employees without pay for weeks as he reasoned that it somehow made sense to close agencies including the Interior and Agriculture Department over his demands for increased border security, which neither department nor many of the others that were affected have anything to do with whatsoever.
By the time the shutdown ended, the negative effects on those employees (and contractors) who were going without pay had begun to spill over into the broader public through means including significant delays at airports along the East Coast because air traffic controllers were among those whose funding got cut off.
In other words, Trump had definitely pushed his confrontation with Democrats — and the country — to the “limit of safety,” and he’s ready to do it again. Besides claiming he’s open to another shutdown if he still doesn’t have wall funding when the current government appropriations run out, he’s also indicated he’s open to declaring a national emergency over the supposed crisis at the southern border in an effort to use executive power to build the wall.
Dempsey had some thoughts about that behavior too, offering:
‘The most effective leaders use their influence much more than their authority. The goal is to solve problems so that they stay solved. Solutions imposed rarely last.’
Dempsey is no small-time figure, having served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Barack Obama. He explained to The New York Times‘ Carol Giacomo that he consciously leaves Trump’s name out of his public statements because he thinks it’s never appropriate for “senior military leaders to publicly and personally criticize the president, as he is the elected leader of the country.” Although he notes that some of his colleagues who’ve become more personal and pointed in their responses to the Trump presidency “can be informative,” he insists it “should not become the new normal.”
Still, that’s not to say that even Dempsey hasn’t specifically called out Trump comments and policies, even if he’s refused to engage in mudslinging. He defended former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush after Trump claimed they didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers, and he insisted that the Trump administration’s deployment of thousands of soldiers to the southern border to confront asylum seekers was “wasteful.”
Still, Trump’s not listening to criticism. Just recently, he claimed thousands more soldiers would be heading to the border to face a security threat that does not exist among the asylum seekers there.
Check out Twitter responses to Dempsey…
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot