A retired Army general has described as “disgusting” President Donald Trump’s remarks denigrating a former Navy SEAL who oversaw the 2011 operation to take out Osama bin Laden for not killing the September 11 attacks’ mastermind sooner.
“I’d use one word. And that’s ‘disgusting,’” retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told CNN late Sunday after being asked about the president’s disparagement of retired Adm. William McRaven.
Hertling said he served with McRaven in Europe and Iraq.
“You know everyone knows Bill McRaven as being the guy that led the bin Laden raid. I know him as the guy as the joint special operations commander in Iraq, and there were multiple missions where this guy placed himself in danger, led soldiers in some of the most challenging situations you can imagine,” Hertling said.
Donald Trump made the comment while speaking to Chris Wallace [right] on FOX News on Sunday
He said it is especially galling for the president who touts how much he respects and supports the military “to just dismiss this great American hero as a guy who was a Hillary Clinton lover, which is patently not true, is just really disgusting.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also signaled his support for McRaven in a tweet Monday.
President Trump launched the volley of criticism against the retired Navy SEAL admiral who led the Osama bin Laden raid, in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace brought up comments Admiral Bill McRaven made in February 2017 – a month after Trump was sworn-in – that the president’s attacks on the media were the “greatest threat to democracy” he’s seen in his lifetime.
Tit-for-tat: Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven stood by his prior comments and clarified that he did not endorse a candidate in the 2016 presidential elections
Sen Marco Rubio [R-Fla], came to the defense of the retired Navy seal
“I don’t know if Adm. William McRaven shares my political views or not. But I do know that few Americans have sacrificed or risked more than he has to protect America & the freedoms we enjoy,” Florida’s Rubio posted. “His military career exemplified honor & excellence. I am grateful for his service.”
Trump, during the interview with “Fox News Sunday,” lashed out at McRaven after being asked by host Chris Wallace about those remarks made by the former commando in 2017.
“OK, he’s a Hilary Clinton backer and an Obama-backer, and frankly … wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn’t it have been nice? You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan,” said Trump, who took a medical deferment for a bone spur to get out of serving during the Vietnam War. In another interview later Sunday on CNN, McRaven dismissed Trump’s claim that he backed Clinton and stood by his remarks condemning Trump’s assault on the media.
“I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” said McRaven, who did not endorse a candidate in 2016. “I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for. I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.”
“I stand by my comment that the president’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime,” he continued. “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”