The U.S. Military has had enough of Donald Trump’s reprehensible behavior and generals are speaking up. It’s not organized military opposition to the president, but day by day, generals and admirals are publicly stepping up and directly giving the American public their views in ways that don’t always match the ‘disgraceful rhetoric’ of their commander in chief.
Nowhere was that made clearer than in the recent video of Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria speaking to cadets after racist slurs were posted on message boards of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School:
“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you can’t treat someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can’t treat someone from another race or a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” the visibly furious general told his troops.
What happened next was very telling. The video went viral. Social media filled up with messages from currently serving and retired officers applauding Silveria for showing unambiguous leadership especially in the wake of the racial violence in the Charlottesville.
One senior officer posted on social media, “Leaders own problems. I’d follow this leader anywhere, anytime.”
In Puerto Rico it’s much the same, while Trump calls for local Puerto Ricans to do more, the three-star Army general in charge of military relief operations has another view.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, within hours of arriving, said more help and more troops were needed: “It’s not enough and we’re bringing more in,” he said. More helicopters are now there to ferry aid to remote areas — something local truckers cannot yet do. A three-star commander is on the front line of one of the worst natural disasters to hit millions of Americans, speaking bluntly off-the-cuff, without White House spin-meisters in control of his answers.
And when Trump claimed that the relief effort on the island was going “very well,” the Pentagon was quick to release an urgent statement contradicting his claim, declaring the situation in Puerto Rico getting worse and basically calling president a liar.
In the wake of Charlottesville, the four-star heads of each military branch — Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps — tweeted about their own zero tolerance for racism in the ranks, defying Trump’s post-Charlottesville comments.
In another instance, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, spoke publicly against the President on the proposed total ban on transgender persons serving in the military: “I would just probably say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”
On the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of Defense, Gen. Jim Mattis publicly defied Trump saying that the US should stick with Iran Nuclear Deal.
This is no open revolt of the generals. But this is exactly what we expect our senior military officials to do when faced with an unfit commander in chief.
Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, one of the nation’s most senior intelligence officers, made this sentiment clear in a speech Tuesday: “Never forget who we serve. The Citizens of the United States.”