GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said Monday at a rally in Carmel, Indiana that if he becomes president, he would ban his generals from going on TV and declaring the country’s weaknesses in public.
“I don’t want our generals on television,” Trump said, according to The Hill.
“I will prohibit them — I don’t want them saying things like, ‘Our nation has never been so ill-prepared,'” he said. “I don’t want them going on television.”
“You think Gen. George Patton or Gen. Douglas MacArthur, you think they’d be on television saying about how weak we are?” Trump asked.
“Number one, they wouldn’t be on television because they’d be knocking the hell out of the enemy, they wouldn’t have time,” he said.
Trump’s relationship with the military has been more tenuous than other candidates because of his aggressive foreign policy statements, which sometimes get him into trouble. He’s suggested in the past that his troops would follow whatever he ordered, because he’s able to show real leadership. He later backed down and said he wouldn’t order his troops to violate the law, specifically the Geneva Convention, which prohibits killing the families of terrorists. Trump did, however, reaffirm that he’d use every bit of legal power available to hit terrorists hard.
Still, it’s unclear whether he’d obtain cooperation from agencies like the CIA to engage in practices like waterboarding, a method of interrogation he’s spoken about repeatedly. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said in March at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute that if Trump wants to restart the practice of waterboarding terrorists, he’ll have to “bring his own bucket.” Part of the reason for the CIA’s hesitation lies in the fact that intelligence officials have felt betrayed by the transition from the Bush to Obama administration, in terms of how they were and are treated.
In fact, so noxious is Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric to Washington political elites that Hayden is convinced Trump essentially functions as a “recruiting sergeant” for the Islamic State.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates slammed Trump Sunday for thinking he’s the smartest person in the room and assuming he has all the answers, comparing his attitude to that of President Barack Obama’s.
Despite disapproval from former high-level officials, an informal poll conducted in March of 931 servicemembers found that Trump scored the highest, bringing in 27 percent of troops under his banner. Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders was the closest behind in the race at 22 percent.
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