Donald Trump reportedly left his top military brass stunned when he called out the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan by saying, “Seriously, who gives a sh*t about Afghanistan?” during a high-level meeting.
The account comes from Guy Snodgrass, a retired U.S. Navy commander and the onetime speechwriter to former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Snodgrass is sharing details about Trump’s supposedly unfocused approach to U.S. military operations in his new book, Holding the Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis, that details some controversial moments behind closed doors with America’s top military leaders.
As Business Insider recounted, Trump allegedly bemoaned the U.S. operations in Afghanistan and questioned why it was at all important.
“Seriously, who gives a sh*t about Afghanistan?” Snodgrass recounted Trump saying during a meeting with his top military brass. “So far we’re in for $7 trillion, fellas… $7 trillion including Iraq. Worst decision ever and we’re stuck with it.”
Snodgrass had helped Mattis to put together PowerPoint slides for Trump at the meeting and had to be careful not to include too much information or else the president would lose focus. As the report noted, Snodgrass knew that Trump could not hold his focus and took a simple approach, one that focused on “just pictures.”
Trump’s alleged unfocused approach to U.S. military operations has now come under sharper focus after the widely criticized decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria and allow Turkey to launch its long-awaited military operation against America’s Kurdish allies. The Turkish military and Turkish-backed militants have been accused of carrying out atrocities on Kurdish soldiers and civilians in the area, and Trump went back on his initial statement that appeared to condone the country’s military attack, calling on Turkish President Recep Erdogan to put a stop to it.
The move allowed both Turkey and Russia to gain a stronger foothold in Syria and prompted a bipartisan group of lawmakers to approve harsh sanctions on Turkey. But Donald Trump lifted most of those sanctions after Turkey agreed to a ceasefire that has been described as very generous on its end, allowing the country to hold onto land seized and calling for Kurdish forces to evacuate the area.
That move too came under fire, with some members of Trump’s own party disagreeing with the decision not to punish Turkey.
“It’s unthinkable that Turkey would not suffer consequences for malevolent behavior which was contrary to the interests of the United States and our friends,” Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted after Donald Trump announced that sanctions were being lifted.