Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven lashed out at Donald Trump again Sunday, saying his behavior is the “greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime” after the president criticized McRaven for failing to bring Osama bin Laden to justice sooner.
Trump disdainfully dismissed earlier criticism from McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL mission that killed bin Laden, when Chris Wallace questioned him about it in an interview that aired earlier in the day on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Hillary Clinton fan,” Trump snapped, cutting off Wallace. “He’s a Hillary 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?”
An angry McRaven responded on CNN: “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else. 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 use that office to bring the nation together.”
He added that he stood by his comments in a speech early last year at the University of Texas in Austin, noting Sunday that the “president’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. 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.”
In an interview on CNN Sunday, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling characterized McRaven as an “unbelievable patriot” and a “true servant” of the Constitution.
Asked about Trump’s comments on McRaven, Hertling responded: “Having someone like the president of the United States, a man that holds an office that’s supposed to represent all people and who says he 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. But it’s just another day in the life of the Trump administration I guess.”
Hertling also slammed Trump’s failure to honor veterans at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
“It’s a factor of leadership,” he said. “Leaders know what to do, where to be, what things to say. And in all three of those things, I think the president is currently a failure.”