Retired General Stan McChrystal Says Trump's 'Disturbing' Rhetoric Erodes The Military's Trust In Its Commander-In-Chief

news

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:

SEE ALSO: Trump Calls Retired SEAL Adm. McRaven ‘Hillary Clinton Fan’, Says ‘Would’ve Been Nice’ If We Got Bin Laden Sooner

Photo: Lee County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

An Alabama woman was charged in the shooting death of her husband, an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Benning, just days after he filed for a restraining order against her.

Read More Show Less

U.S. Cyber Command is reportedly going on offense against Russia's power grid by placing "potentially crippling malware" in its systems, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The cyber incursions, authorized to Cyber Command under new authorities that do not require presidential approval, have gotten more "aggressive" and seem to be a warning that the U.S. can respond to Moscow's past cyberattacks, such as the 2016 incursion into the Democratic National Committee and its attack on Ukraine's power grid.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A Chicago veteran missed his graduation day in 1944 serving in World War II. But on Thursday, he walked across the stage, officially graduating with the Class of 2019.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf and said it was seeking international consensus about the threat to shipping, despite Tehran denying involvement in the explosions at sea.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo)

The Navy has named a female president of the U.S. Naval War College for the first time in its history just days after ousting her predecessor amid allegations of excess spending and inappropriate behavior.

Read More Show Less