Who Is The Commander And Chief Of The Us Military – WASHINGTON — He canceled a trip to a cemetery in France where American soldiers from World War I are buried. He did not go to the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. He has not visited American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Soon after becoming commander-in-chief, President Trump asked so few questions at a briefing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., that top military commanders cut the number of PowerPoint slides they prepared to three — they had originally planned for 18 — two said. officials aware of the visit.
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Who Is The Commander And Chief Of The Us Military
Rhetorically, Mr. Trump has referred to America’s 1.3 million active-duty soldiers as “my military” and “my generals” and tweeted that under his leadership America’s armed forces will be “the best our country has ever had. There used to be.” But senior Defense Department officials say Mr. Trump has not fully grasped the role of the troops he commands, nor the responsibility he has to lead and protect them from politics.
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“There was a belief that over time he would understand better, but I don’t know if that’s the case,” said Col. David Lapan, a retired Marine who served in the Trump administration in 2017 as a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense. Homeland security. “I don’t think he understands the proper use and role of the military and what we can and cannot do.”
On Friday, Mr Trump admitted he had made a mistake in not going to Arlington this week, saying he believed he had covered it up by going to another American cemetery in Paris after skipping the first one.
“In retrospect, I should have, and I did last year, and I’ll do almost every year,” he told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace in an interview that aired this weekend. “But we had arrived very late at night, and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris, and I probably thought it was a good thing, and I was extremely busy with affairs of state—doing other things.”
In fact, he didn’t go to Arlington on Veterans Day last year — he was in Asia at the time — but he has gone to a military cemetery twice on Memorial Day. And on Thursday of this week, before Thanksgiving, he visited the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C., home to the commandant of the Marine Corps and units assigned to ceremonial and security missions in the capital. He spent less than an hour, then returned to the White House to address a group of veterans.
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“I think vets probably appreciate what we do for them more than anyone else,” Mr. Trump said.
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited American troops on the border with Mexico in the latest military deployment under Mr. Trump’s watch. Mr Mattis traveled to Base Camp Donna, Texas, where he met with troops who have strung wires to keep out the approaching migrant caravan, which the president has likened to an “invasion”.
Pentagon officials privately derided the deployment of nearly 6,000 active-duty troops as a morale killer and a costly waste of time and resources by a commander in chief who is determined to get his supporters to the polls. The troops, providing only logistical support, will be there until 15 December.
“It’s always better to come down and see it for real,” Mr. Mattis told the troops.
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Like two recent former presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Mr. Trump took office without serving in the military. Former President George W. Bush served in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War but never left the country, and questions have been raised about how often he reported for duty. All three had complicated relationships with the armed forces.
Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, on Wednesday at Base Camp Donna, Texas. Mr. Trump has been at odds with Mr. Mattis and other Pentagon officials. Credit… Jacob Caldwell/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
Mr. Clinton, a Vietnam War protester who avoided the draft, was initially uncomfortable with the generals. Bush trusted Iraq’s military leadership for years until he finally reversed what he saw as their losing strategy. Mr. Obama was convinced from the start that the military was trying to encourage him to send more troops to Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump, who received a reprieve from the bone spurs of Vietnam, took office with respect for the military idea. He then appointed generals as secretary of defense, White House chief of staff and twice as national security adviser.
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But unlike previous Republican presidents, Mr Trump has seen little value in prolonged American deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts. He sees them as a waste of money and lives, and has told advisers that people in countries where troops are stationed are not real friends of the United States.
One of the reasons he hasn’t visited troops in war zones, according to his aides, is that he doesn’t really want American troops there. They said a visit would validate missions, which he doesn’t really believe in.
Bush went to Iraq four times, and Obama – once, three months after his inauguration. The two presidents made four trips to visit troops in Afghanistan.
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Former Afsouth Command Chief To Face Court Martial
Mr. Trump also has not made special trips to look for deployed troops elsewhere, as his predecessors did. President George W. Bush was a lame-duck president, three weeks away from Mr. Clinton’s inauguration, when he traveled on New Year’s Day 1993 to shake hands with troops stationed in Somalia.
Mr Trump also shirked responsibility as commander-in-chief when Navy SEAL Chief Special Operations Officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed in Yemen last year.
The president appeared to blame his generals for the deaths in his mandated mission when he told Fox News that military commanders “came to me and explained what they wanted to do, generals who are highly respected.”
Mr. Trump’s aides said he was so personally distraught to learn that a SEAL had died under his command that he flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to return the body, something presidents have not typically done for any deaths.
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But last weekend in France, Mr. Trump skipped a cemetery for American World War I soldiers killed in the Battle of Bellevue after Mr. Trump said on Twitter this week that rain grounded his helicopter and the Secret Service told him. driving was too disruptive to traffic. In their place went Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and John F. Kelly, a Marine general who became White House chief of staff.
Advisers said that Mr. Trump would have been willing to ignore the Secret Service and go on the road if someone had urged him to, and that he was furious that no one warned him that skipping the trip would be a political disaster.
His decision days before the midterm elections to send in troops to respond to what he insisted was a crisis on the southwest border remains a major concern among Defense Department officials. He has shown an unusually strong interest in the issue, with military officials saying that Mr. Trump has repeatedly called the head of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, which oversees operations along the nation’s borders, Gen. Terence J. for updates in recent weeks.
Soldiers arriving in early November at Base Camp Donna. Almost 6,000 active duty soldiers are stationed at the southwestern border. Credit… Tamir Khalifa The New York Times
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“If the president routinely and cynically uses our nation’s armed forces for short-term political gain, the professional ethos of the officer corps will be degraded,” said Carl W. Eikenberry, a retired three-star Army general and former U.S. commander. forces in Afghanistan. “This in turn would threaten one of the founding principles of our republic – that our military should stay out of politics.”
At one point during Mr. Mattis’ visit to the border on Wednesday, a soldier asked him about the objectives of the mission. “In the short term, remove obstacles,” the defense secretary replied. “In the long run, that has to be determined a little bit.”
In April, the president told reporters that “the time has come” to withdraw American forces from Syria. The announcement stunned the Pentagon, Defense Department officials said, because Syria was at the heart of the battle against the Islamic State and a cornerstone of Mr. Syria. Trump’s national security strategy called for confronting Iran. Leaving Syria would give land to Iran and possibly Russia. That
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