Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Retired General Stan McChrystal Says Trump's 'Disturbing' Rhetoric Erodes The Military's Trust In Its Commander-In-Chief
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
In an interview with ABC News Thursday, retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal questioned President Donald Trump's leadership, saying the president's criticism of former military leaders is "deeply disturbing."
Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent for the network, asked McChrystal about Trump's most recent critique of Bill McRaven, the retired Navy SEAL admiral who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid.
The president prompted outrage among some veterans when he dismissed McRaven as "a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer" in an interview with Fox News.
McRaven has emerged as a vocal Trump critic. He called on the president to revoke his security clearance after Trump threatened to do so for a former CIA director. McRaven recently voiced his concern that Trump refers to members of the media as "enemies of the people."
"Wouldn't it have been nice if we had gotten Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn't it have been nice?" the president said.
McChrystal told ABC News this type of inflammatory rhetoric damages trust between the military and its commander in chief.
"The fact that he would take on people in this vitriolic manner, I think is pretty upsetting to people," he said in the interview. The retired general also commented on Trump's insistence that his support of a larger defense budget proves he is more supportive of the military than previous presidents.
"That's not the best metric of whether you support the military," McChrystal said. "I don't think that President Trump has developed as deep — a real connection of trust — with the military as perhaps he thinks he has."
In October, Military Times published poll results showing that since President Trump was elected, active-duty support for the commander in chief has decreased. Compared to previous years' results, service members who say they support the president have dropped by 2% points to 46%, whereas the number of troops who disapprove the has risen by 6% points.
The poll also showed that ambivalence among active-duty troops has decreased, suggesting that Trump's rhetoric has led to polarization within the military. McChrystal said he sees the increased tension as a warning sign.
"Trump, he's a populist by nature. He communicates to inflame and stimulate thinking and passions and people and that's not a new thing," McChrystal said. "It usually doesn't end well, whether they are domestic politicians like Joe McCarthy or others who have simplified things and inflamed people. So there's a cautionary tale in this."
More from Business Insider:
- The destroyer Zumwalt's big guns don't have any ammo and the Navy may ditch them entirely because they don't even work right
- It's business as usual for the Saudi crown prince at the G20 summit despite the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi
- Qatar is still being boycotted by its neighbors, and now its pouring tens of billions of dollars into its military
The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.
A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."