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Politics Trump's storied history of praising then slamming top military generals

15:18  16 july  2021
15:18  16 july  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Former President Donald Trump has a storied history of welcoming some of the nation's top military generals with open arms and then offering up scathing criticism over their performance in his administration and beyond.

Donald Trump, Mark A. Milley are posing for a picture © Provided by Washington Examiner

Perhaps one of the most high-profile feuds since he departed the Oval Office is between Trump and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has appeared to become a thorn in the former president's side. Trump's public rebukes of Milley have been making headlines over the last few weeks, though history shows that his disparagement of top military brass was commonplace when he sat in the White House.

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Gen. Mark Milley

When Trump appointed Milley to helm the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2019, the former president praised his "brilliance and fortitude."

"In his new role as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Milley will serve as my top military adviser," Trump said in front of a crowd at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. "I have absolute confidence that he will fulfill his duty with the same brilliance and fortitude he has shown throughout his long and very distinguished career."

"From the great Gen. Omar Bradley to the famed Joe Dunford," he added, "our nation has been blessed by the advice, counsel, and wisdom of 19 chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Today, we pass the baton to the 20th."

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But the relationship between the pair quickly became rocky in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes on May 25, 2020. As Washington, D.C., was brewing with unrest and rioting, the then-president, flanked by Milley, visited St. John's Church, where Trump posed for a photograph with a Bible in June 2020. It was initially reported that Trump used Park Police to clear out a crowd of rioters from Lafayette Park, though more than a year later, a watchdog revealed the demonstrators were moved due to fencing being put up in the area.

At the time, Milley told the press he "should not have been there," alluding to an improper display of military authority and marking the start of a rocky relationship between himself and Trump.

On June 30, Trump urged Milley to resign after claiming he was a "humiliation" to the U.S. military.

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"Gen. Milley ought to resign, and be replaced with someone who is actually willing to defend our Military from the Leftist Radicals who hate our Country and our Flag," Trump said in a tweemail statement.

"When Black Lives Matter rioters were threatening to destroy Washington, D.C., he practically begged me not to send in the military to stop the riots," Trump said. "Milley later issued an embarrassing and groveling apology for walking at my side to St. John’s Church, which far-left rioters almost burned to the ground the day before."

A number of books have since been released that claim to give inside looks into conversations between the pair. This week, excerpts from I Alone Can Fix It, a book by two Washington Post journalists, suggested Milley feared a coup after the 2020 presidential election when he likened Trump's behavior to that of Adolf Hitler.

"They may try, but they're not going to f****** succeed," Milley reportedly told his deputies, according to the book. "You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns."

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"This is a Reichstag moment," the book continued. "The gospel of the Fuhrer."

In response, Trump slammed Milley on Thursday.

"He got his job only because the world’s most overrated general, James Mattis, could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him," he said. "To me the fact that Mattis didn’t like him, just like Obama didn’t like him and actually fired Milley, was a good thing, not a bad thing. I often act counter to people's advice who I don’t respect."

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis

Trump nominated former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a four-star Marine Corps general, in 2016. Moments before his announcement went public, Trump called Mattis the "closest thing" to famed World War II Gen. George Patton.

“I will not tell you that one of our great, great generals — don’t let it outside of this room,” Trump said at a rally in Cincinnati in November 2016. “We are going to appoint 'Mad Dog' Mattis as our secretary of defense … but we are not announcing it until Monday, so don’t tell anyone. He’s great.”

"They say he’s the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have, and it’s about time," he added. "It’s about time.”

Similarly, the then-president referred to him as a "brilliant" and "wonderful" individual.

“We’ll see. We’ll see. He’s just a brilliant, wonderful man. What a career. We are going to see what happens, but he is the real deal," Trump told reporters around the same time.

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“All I can say is he is the real deal,” he continued. “The real deal.”

Mattis resigned in 2018 to protest Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces in Syria abruptly, and little was said about their relationship until June 2020, when the general, in a rare statement, condemned Trump's response to the Floyd unrest.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in an op-ed at the time. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

Hours after Mattis's words were published, the former president chewed into the general.

Trump said he was "glad he is gone," adding that he was the "most overrated" military authority.

"Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world's most overrated General," Trump wrote in a tweet, adding that he "felt great" when Mattis tenured his resignation years prior.

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army lieutenant general, was hailed by Trump as a man of "tremendous talent" when he was appointed to the administration in February 2017.

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“He’s a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump told reporters as McMaster sat beside him. “I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everyone in the military, and we’re very honored to have him.”

A year later, McMaster was gone after officials reported that Trump viewed him as "gruff and condescending," while others insisted he and the president never "gelled" together. However, the relationship between the two U.S. leaders was reduced to rubble after McMaster attended a forum in Germany and insisted it was "incontrovertible" that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

"General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems," Trump barked back after news broke of the general's remarks.

Trump also blasted McMaster's stance on the war in Afghanistan after it was revealed that he wanted more troops in the region.

"He wants to send more troops to Afghanistan, so we're going to send him," Trump was quoted as saying.

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly

When Trump chose former White House chief of staff John Kelly to serve in his administration, he lauded him as a "Great American" and a "true star" at the Department of Homeland Security.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff," Trump said in a July 2017 Facebook post. "He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."

In December 2018, Kelly left the administration after experts said he failed to achieve order in a tumultuous White House. In February 2020, the former president provided more clarity regarding his departure as he insisted "he was unable to handle the pressure" of the role.

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"I know John Kelly," Trump told reporters at a press briefing. "He was with me, didn't do a good job, had no temperament, and ultimately, he was petered out. He got eaten alive. He was unable to handle the pressure of this job."

Similarly, Trump said he couldn't terminate Kelly "fast enough" in a pair of tweets around the same time.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper,” Trump wrote.

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While Trump has been vocal with his critiques of top military generals, his view of the military as a whole was called into question last fall. In September 2020, the Atlantic reported that the former president referred to deceased service members as "losers" and "suckers," though his administration repeatedly denied the allegations in multiple statements.

"What animal would say such a thing?" Trump said the day the report was released. "And especially since I've done more, I think more than almost anybody, to help our military to get the budgets, to get the pay raises for our military. So I just think it's a horrible thing that they are allowed to write that. We can refute it. We have other people that will refute it."

"It is a disgraceful situation by a magazine that is a terrible magazine," Trump added. "I don't read it. I just heard about it, but they made it up. Probably it's a couple of people that have been failures in the administration."

Tags: News, Donald Trump, Military, Mark Milley, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster, John Kelly

Original Author: Jake Dima

Original Location: Trump's storied history of praising then slamming top military generals

Trump World is already weighing veeps for 2024. Hint: It ain’t Pence. .
The former president is keeping tabs on the field and he’s all but decided to ditch the guy he ran with last time.No formal vetting process is in place, and there is no expectation that Trump, should he run, will do so unopposed in a Republican primary. But allies of the former president are already keeping tabs on how GOP officials with presidential ambitions are addressing Trump himself and the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election.

usr: 1
This is interesting!