NEW YORK: President Donald Trump has ignited a firestorm of criticism and charges that he is politicising the military by faulting a war hero for not capturing Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden sooner.
Trump took shots at retired Adm William McRaven said in which he also asserted that the former Navy SEAL and former commander of United States Special Operations Command was a “backer” of Trump’s 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and supporter of President Barack Obama.
“Disgusting,” the George W Bush administration’s White House counter-terrorism adviser, Fran Townsend, wrote Monday on Twitter.
Leon Panetta, who was CIA director during the bin Laden raid and later served as secretary of defense, said Trump owed an apology to McRaven and to all of those in the military and intelligence agencies who played a role in tracking down bin Laden and carrying out the risky raid into Pakistan. He called Trump’s remark “patently ridiculous”.
“It demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of how our military and intelligence agencies operate and undermines the president’s own standing as commander-in-chief,” Panetta said in a statement.
The controversy follows a pattern of concerns raised by former senior military officers about Trump’s grasp of the military’s role. —Agencies