The retired Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is now taking aim at Donald Trump, saying in a sharp statement that the United States is under attack from its own president.
Retired U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven has leveled some biting criticism of Trump in the wake of the president’s decision to move U.S. troops in Syria, allowing Turkey to attack America’s Kurdish allies. McRaven has turned into a vocal critic of President Trump, but this week unleashed his most biting criticism yet, saying in a New York Times opinion column that Trump has gutted the nation’s principles by abandoning the allies that took the lead in defeating the Islamic State.
“For everyone who ever served in uniform, or in the intelligence community, for those diplomats who voice the nation’s principles, for the first responders, for the tellers of truth and the millions of American citizens who were raised believing in American values — you would have seen your reflection in the faces of those we honored last week,” McRaven wrote.
McRaven added that those serving the United States, from members of the armed services to those in intelligence agencies and the public service sector, have all seen their institutions come under attack from Trump.
“They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own,” McRaven wrote. “They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!'”
McRaven retired from a Pentagon advisory board in 2018 while leveling criticism at the president’s approach to foreign policy.
William McRaven joins the many people on both sides of the aisle taking aim at Trump for his decision to move U.S. troops out of northern Syria. Trump made the announcement hours after speaking by phone with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and the White House announcement said that the move would allow Turkey to launch its long-awaited military operation in northern Syria.
But even though it was long known that Turkey planned to attack the Kurdish military forces there — a group that Turkey calls terrorists — Trump seemed to go back on the plan and condemned Turkey after the attack was launched. This week, a delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Turkey in the hope of negotiating a cease fire. In exchange, Trump agreed to withdraw sanctions on Turkey that passed Congress with bipartisan support.