As we discussed earlier, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked this afternoon to defend a discredited story Chief of Staff John Kelly shared yesterday. She replied, “If you want to go after Gen. Kelly that’s up to you but I think that that – if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate.”
This is problematic for all kinds of reasons, but let’s take a moment to focus on Trump’s own record on showing deference and respect towards American military leaders with stars on their shoulder.
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” he insisted during the campaign. “Believe me.” Several months later, Trump added that U.S. military leaders “don’t know much because they’re not winning,” As recently as September 2016, the Republican said American generals “have been reduced to rubble,” adding, “They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing to our country.”
During the Democratic National Convention, Trump was especially disrespectful towards retired four-star General John Allen. Politico reported at the time:
Trump then proceeded to pounce on criticisms levied against him by Allen, who Thursday night gave an impassioned speech framing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a leader who possessed the needed experience to helm the United States military.
“They had a general named John Allen. I never met him, and he got up and started talking about Trump, Trump, Trump,” the Republican nominee said before unleashing his counterassault. “You know who he is? He’s a failed general. He was the general fighting ISIS. I would say he hasn’t done so well, right?” Trump said.
It was around this time that the GOP candidate tweeted, “General John Allen, who I never met but spoke against me last night, failed badly in his fight against ISIS. His record = BAD”
If the White House believes this, too, was “highly inappropriate,” I’ll look forward to hearing Team Trump say so.