President Trump has apparently never heard the expression that it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. Otherwise, he would have been smart enough not to take the bait when Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked him to comment on the critical statement made by retired Admiral Bill McRaven, the Navy SEAL who led the operation killing Osama Bin Laden.
Wallace confronted Trump with McRaven’s assessment that the president’s attacks on the media as “the enemy of the people” was the “greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.” The president responded by calling the heroic SEAL a “Hillary Clinton fan” and an “Obama-backer” and questioning why it took so long to get Bin Laden.
Trump’s ignorant and glib reply awakened the beast in McRaven, who redoubled his criticism of Trump after hearing the draft-dodging president’s remarks. In an interview with CNN today, the retired admiral threw some serious shade on the president’s contemptuous comments.
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“I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” McRaven told the network. “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.”
That qualification most certainly omits Trump from the list of presidents worthy of respect in McRaven’s estimation. He continued by reinforcing his opinion on the destructiveness of the president’s assault on the press.
“I stand by my comment that the President’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime,” McRaven said, referring to an earlier statement he had made last year that “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.”
Trump’s petulant dismissal of the highly decorated Special Operations veteran as a partisan hack simply because McRaven had the temerity to call out the president’s divisive rhetoric as a highly destructive and dangerous tactic merely proves the truth behind the retired SEAL’s assessment of Trump’s leadership capabilities and ability to carry out his oath of office to defend the Constitution.
It’s great to see that he is in no way intimidated by the president’s personal attacks on his character and instead continues to press the truth of his fears about the threat that Trump’s actions embody.
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Original reporting by Jake Tapper and Devan Cole at CNN.