Trump launches unprecedented attack on military leaders he has appointed

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“I’m not saying the military is in love with me – the soldiers are, the best in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they don’t want to do anything but wage wars for all these wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and keep everything happy, ”Trump told reporters at a White House press conference.

Trump’s extraordinary comments come as several defense officials tell CNN that relations between the president and Pentagon leaders are increasingly strained.

They also followed Trump’s efforts to convince the public that he had not made a series of derogatory remarks about US military personnel and veterans, which were first reported by The Atlantic magazine.

A former senior administration official confirmed to CNN that Trump referred to the fallen US servicemen in the Aisne-Marne cemetery in crass and derogatory terms during a trip to France in November 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. including Fox News, much of The Atlantic’s reporting has confirmed, which Trump and the White House vehemently deny.

Some have expressed concern that the president’s accusations on Monday against senior military officials may have a corrosive effect.“The president’s comments on the motives of military leaders not only degrade their service and that of those they lead; he lends credence to the very contempt and levity he tries to deny, ”said retired US Navy Rear Admiral and CNN analyst John Kirby.

The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment on Monday’s comments.

While Trump publicly denigrated the service of several high-profile veterans such as the late Senator John McCain and his former Defense Secretary, retired General Jim Mattis, Monday’s edge was at a new level targeting leaders who ‘he appointed to carry out his orders. .

Trump has also repeatedly touted increasing the defense budget as one of his administration’s main achievements, citing it as proof of his support for the military, spending that has also benefited defense contractors. .

Senior commanders exhausted and worried

CNN has previously reported that relations between Trump and his Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are strained, with Trump set to replace him. But, with less than two months of the presidential election, senior Pentagon commanders are increasingly exhausted and worried about their dealings with the president, several defense officials told CNN.

How the Pentagon would react if Trump used the insurgency law to put U.S. military troops on the streets to deal with civilian protesters is a matter of critical concern as it continues to stir up divisions across the country in the approach of the elections. Trump pitched the idea last month and, after making the threat for the first time in June, Esper publicly broke with him, saying he opposed such a move.

To avoid another confrontation with the White House, for several weeks, senior military officials – including General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – have been regularly receiving information about civil unrest in major cities across the country. The idea is to be ready with alternative plans for the state-activated National Guard and other federal civilian law enforcement agencies rather than having active-duty troops potentially in conflict with protesters, according to several defense officials.

Another issue that could lead to a clash between Trump and military leaders is the $ 740 billion defense bill that would strip the names of Confederate generals in the face of vocal opposition from Trump, who said he would veto any movement.

All the Chiefs of Staff have made it clear that they want to eliminate what they consider to be symbols of division in Confederation.

Milley did not hold back on the matter when he appeared before Congress in July, saying that “these officers have turned their backs on their oath,” referring to the names on the bases. “It was an act of treason, at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the American Constitution. ”

Military leaders have embarked on several initiatives to improve racial inclusion. Officials say it is essential to ensure that when troops go to war, they form a cohesive fighting force.

There are also very real concerns about the aftermath of the November election, particularly if the outcome is not immediately clear after election night.

Last month, Milley told members of Congress that the military would play no role in the election and help settle disputes if the results were challenged.

“If there is a dispute over some aspect of the election, the law obliges the US courts and the US Congress to resolve any dispute, not the US military,” Milley wrote in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee.

“I deeply believe in the principle of an apolitical US military,” Milley wrote.

Despite what Milley said, if there was some sort of constitutional crisis if the election outcome is not clear, the military may well be placed in an awkward position, especially since Trump’s opponent Former Vice President Joe Biden hinted that they might become involved in an interview in June.

“I promise you, I have absolutely no doubts that they will escort him from the White House with great diligence,” Biden said, referring to the US Army Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In addition to this uncertainty, there are concerns that Trump could launch military action against an adversary before inauguration day, regardless of who wins, the White House is also at the forefront of senior officials.

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