'Big Dumb Mouth:' Trump Hits Back at McChrystal

Then International Security Assistance Force commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal visits Korengal Outpost during Operation Mountain Decent 2, April 8, 2010. (DoD Photo/ Spc. Victor Egorov)
Then International Security Assistance Force commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal visits Korengal Outpost during Operation Mountain Decent 2, April 8, 2010. (DoD Photo/ Spc. Victor Egorov)

President Donald Trump struck back at retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, saying the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan "got fired like a dog by [former President Barack] Obama."

Trump tweeted Tuesday that McChrystal, who on Sunday called the president "immoral," was a supporter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and called his "last assignment a total bust."

"Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!" Trump wrote.

In addition on Twitter, Trump cited Fox News host Laura Ingraham as saying, "Media Didn't Like McChrystal Until He Started Bashing Trump."

The diatribe was a response to McChrystal's remarks made Sunday on ABC-TV's "This Week," when he praised former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for resigning, the day after Trump announced that the estimated 2,000 U.S. troops serving in Syria would be withdrawn.

"I don't think he tells the truth," McChrystal said of Trump. When asked by ABC co-anchor Martha Raddatz whether Trump is "immoral in your view," McChrystal replied, "I think he is."

McChrystal said that, much like Mattis, he also could not have continued to serve under Trump as commander-in-chief.

"If we want to be governed by someone we wouldn't do a business deal with because their -- their background is so shady, if we're willing to do that, then that's in conflict with who I think we are. And so I think it's necessary at those times to take a stand," McChrystal said.

Retired Adm. William McRaven, a former Navy SEAL and frequent Trump critic who has been credited with organizing and directing the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011, defended McChrystal against Trump's tweet.

In a statement to CNN, McRaven said of McChrystal, "No general I know has given more in the service of this country."

McChrystal, who served as the head of the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, is "a deep strategic thinker, tactically brilliant, with unparalleled personal courage," McRaven said.

"His leadership of special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan unquestionably saved the lives of thousands of American and allied troops, as well as countless civilians," McRaven said.

Trump's Twitter statement that McChrystal was fired as Afghanistan commander by Obama was not quite accurate, but it's true that McChrystal in the past has stated his respect for Hillary Clinton in her role as secretary of state.

In May 2014, after his retirement from the Army, McChrystal told HuffPost Live that he "deeply respected [Clinton]. I knew her slightly when she was a senator, deeply respected her as secretary of state, really enjoyed the partnership we had. So I think that was one of the relationships that I will value forever, the respect I had for her and she had for me."

According to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, McChrystal was on the verge of being fired in 2010 but submitted his resignation, which was quickly accepted by Obama.

In his book "Duty: Memoirs Of A Secretary At War," Gates wrote that he tried unsuccessfully to talk McChrystal out of resigning following publication of a Rolling Stone article titled "The Runaway General" in which members of McChrystal's staff in his presence disparaged then-Vice President Joe Biden and others in the Obama administration.

The article by the late Michael Hastings described a night in a Paris bar with McChrystal and his staff at which Biden was mocked, Obama's commitment to the war was questioned and National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a former Marine Corps commandant, was called "a clown."

In his own book "My Share Of The Task," McChrystal wrote that an aide woke him at 2 a.m. in Afghanistan to tell him: "Sir, we have a problem. The Rolling Stone article is out, and it's really bad."

Gates wrote that McChrystal immediately phoned him, and Gates' first question to McChrystal was, "What the bleep were you thinking?"

At a White House meeting the next day, Gates said Obama told him, "I'm leaning toward relieving McChrystal."

Instead, McChrystal offered his resignation. "Regardless of how I judged the story for fairness or accuracy, the responsibility was mine," McChrystal wrote in his book.

He had already been at odds with the administration over troop deployments to Afghanistan, and he had previously come under criticism over the friendly fire death of Army Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals.

As Afghanistan commander, McChrystal had signed off on a Silver Star award for Tillman, with a citation that made no mention of the friendly fire, infuriating the Tillman family. At the time, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, initially opposed McChrystal's promotion to four-star rank over the Tillman award issue.

Eight months after his June 2011 resignation, McChrystal and the White House sought to heal the rift.

McChrystal accepted an unpaid advisory role to the White House "Joining Forces" initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Biden's wife, to help troops and families and aid in their adjustment to civilian life.

At the time, Mrs. Obama called McChrystal "a unique and powerful advocate for the millions of Americans who serve our country selflessly."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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