In response to President Donald Trump’s attacks against the former Navy SEAL who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling said on Sunday that Trump’s remarks were “disgusting.”
According to a report by the Hill, in an interview with CNN, Hertling was asked about his reaction to President Trump’s criticism of retired Admiral William McRaven. In response, he said that he would use one word. And that’s “disgusting.”
“You know everyone knows 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 — who interacted with McRaven directly as both served in Europe and Iraq — further said that “to have someone 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.”
During an interview with Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, President Trump called McRaven a fan of Hillary Clinton as well as an “Obama-backer.” Trump also expressed his surprise as to why it took so long for the U.S. to find bin Laden.
“Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?” President Trump questioned.
Earlier, William McRaven had commented on Trump’s attacks on the media, calling it the “greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime,” per a previous report by the Hill.
McRaven doubled down on his previous criticism of Trump and said that when people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression are undermined, the Constitution and all for which it stands is threatened.
McRaven also clarified that he did not support a presidential candidate in the 2016 election, thus dismissing Trump’s claim that McRaven is a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
This wasn’t the first time that McRaven openly criticized the Trump administration. Per another report by the Hill, when the White House decided to revoke former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance in August this year, McRaven called it “McCarthy-era tactics.”
He added that the actions of the Trump administration are intended to “suppress the voices of criticism.” He also said to Trump that “criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you’d be.”