- Retired US Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a former Fox News contributor, railed against President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and decision to send as many as 15,000 troops to the US-Mexico border ahead of the arrival of a so-called migrant caravan now travelling through Mexico.
- “I want to take the president of the United States seriously,” Peters said during a CNN interview on Thursday, “but he manages to be at once an embarrassing fool and an insidious menace.”
- Peters has been outspoken about his assessments of presidential administrations of both political parties – in 2015, he was suspended from Fox News for two weeks after calling President Barack Obama “a total p—y.”
- “The president of the United States is a draft dodger playing with our troops,” Peters said, referring to Trump’s five draft deferments. “This idea of sending 15,000 troops to the southern border, right now, it’s an election ploy.”
- Peters questioned Trump’s motives, but he also suggested Democrats were partly to blame for the politically charged debate about the migrant caravan.
Retired US Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a former Fox News contributor, on Thursday railed against President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and decision to send as many as 15,000 troops to the US-Mexico border ahead of the arrival of a so-called migrant caravan.
“I want to take the president of the United States seriously,” Peters told the CNN host Anderson Cooper during an interview. “But he manages to be at once an embarrassing fool and an insidious menace. He’s the antithesis of the America that I and my military comrades meant to defend, if necessary, with our lives.
“He’s an un-American American president,” Peters added.
The former Russia analyst has been outspoken about his assessments of presidential administrations of both political parties. In 2015, Peters was suspended from Fox News for two weeks after calling President Barack Obama “a total p—y” following a speech he gave on terrorism.
“What bothers me the most about President Trump – and there’s much that bothers me – is his absolutely repulsive, repugnant attacks on America – and they are attacks on America when he constantly criticises our system of government,” Peters said.
“I just want to stand up and say, ‘No! No! We don’t need you to make America great again,” Peters added, referring to Trump’s campaign slogan.
“And to be fair, we didn’t need Obama to apologise for America,” Peters said, seemingly referring to claims that Obama’s public apologies put the US at a strategic disadvantage. “This country is great right now. It’s a miracle of a country. It’s imperfect because human beings are imperfect.”
Peters added: “We’ve become an ungrateful nation. A nation pointing fingers at each other. A nation divided often over trivialities. We’re forgetting that we’re all Americans. And so that divisiveness … that bothers me the most.”
The White House has said the troop deployments are in response to thousands of Central American migrants now travelling north through Mexico. Critics have pointed out that the migrants, who are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries, are still weeks away from reaching the border and that the White House’s announcement came days before the November 6 midterm elections.
Political pundits have accused the Trump administration of politicizing the caravan to stir their political base before Election Day.
Peters, along with some other military veterans, described Trump’s decision as a political stunt to stoke fears of an immigration crisis.
“The president of the United States is a draft dodger playing with our troops,” Peters said, referring to Trump’s five draft deferments. “This idea of sending 15,000 troops to the southern border, right now, it’s an election ploy.”
Peters added that when troops “are manipulated for partisan, political purposes, it literally is disgraceful.”
On Thursday, Trump denied that his decision was a political ploy. Speaking to reporters, he asserted that migrants were “pouring up into our country” with ease from the border.
“We have no idea who they are,” Trump said. “All we know is they’re pretty tough people when they can blast through the Mexican military and Mexican police. They’re pretty tough people.”
But while Peters questioned the president’s motives, he suggested that the Trump administration and the Republican majority in Congress were not solely at fault.
“I truly believe that both sides are failing us,” Peters said.
He said he believes the far right “will not admit that we need immigrants, we thrive on immigrants – we need them to pick crops, and we need them to start tech companies.”
“That’s the lifeblood, the fresh blood, that keeps the country going,” he said.
“At the same time, those on the left need to accept the fact that we have a right to sovereign borders, we have a right to know who’s coming here, and we have a right to select who comes here,” he continued. “We should be generous in our selection. We should be open to legitimate asylum claims. But asylum claims should not become a scam.”
Peters added: “And meanwhile, real human beings, whether they’re would-be migrants or native-born Americans, are caught in the middle of all this, and it is a national disgrace. That’s something we can be ashamed of.”
Peters, a longtime Fox News contributor, left the network in March after calling it a “propaganda machine.”
In an email to colleagues following his departure, he accused the network, which has largely aligned itself with the Trump administration, of “wittingly harming our system of government for profit” and “fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers.”
A Fox News spokesperson issued a response to Peters’ email: “Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion despite the fact that he’s choosing to use it as a weapon in order to gain attention,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We are extremely proud of our top-rated primetime hosts and all of our opinion programming.”