In a recent interview on Fox News, President Donald Trump made a number of controversial statements regarding former SOCOM Commander, retired Admiral William McRaven, referring to him as a “Hillary Clinton fan” and seemingly insinuating that McRaven could have killed the terrorist leader sooner.
“OK, he’s a Hilary Clinton backer and an Obama backer and frankly –” Trump said, “Would it have been nicer if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it been nice? Living — think of this, living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan and what I guess in what they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer.”
McRaven, who was credited with planning and overseeing the raid that killed Bin Laden, hasn’t minced words about his position regarding President Trump either, calling Trump’s recent attacks on the media “perhaps the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.” However, despite the president’s assertion that McRaven’s statements were based on his Left-leaning political ideologies, McRaven and others have since pointed out that the four-star admiral served under and supported presidents from both parties.
“I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” McRaven said of the 2016 presidential election. “I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for. I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.”
“I stand by my comment that the President’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime,” McRaven went on.
Former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell also came to McRaven’s aid following the president’s interview, rightfully pointing out that it was the CIA, not SOCOM, that was responsible for finding Bin Laden.
Correction needed to POTUS’s comment today that McRaven should have found bin Laden sooner. CIA did the “finding.” McRaven’s special operators did the “getting.” They moved within days of President Obama giving the order. https://t.co/7e79sDpENH
— Michael Morell (@MichaelJMorell) November 18, 2018
The Navy SEAL that actually participated in the raid and who was credited with killing Bin Laden, Rob O’Neill, also came to his former commander’s defense and dispelled any rumors that politics played a role in the timing or execution of the historic operation.
“The mission to get bin Laden was bipartisan. We all wanted to get him as soon as we could,” O’Neill tweeted on Monday. “ADM McRaven was born to lead this mission. I’ll follow him anywhere. If only people heard the real speech he gave the Team,” he added.
Since his interview, the president has faced criticism over his remarks regarding McRaven and the raid that killed Bin Laden. Trump sought to clarify and bolster his position on Twitter Monday, once again pointing out that he mentioned Bin Laden in a book prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks and criticizing President Clinton for not killing the terrorist mastermind when he had the chance.
Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2018
The president did not mention McRaven in his latest bout of tweets, however, seemingly content to redirect the battle away from the decorated former Navy SEAL McRaven, and back toward the spouse of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton.