- David Lapan, a retired Marine colonel who served in the Trump administration as a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, said Trump doesn’t understand the “proper use and role of the military.”
- Trump has consistently sparked controversy over his rhetoric toward and leadership of the US military.
- Trump has also faced ongoing criticism for not visiting US troops in a war zone.
President Donald Trump is nearly halfway through his first term and, despite his tough talk on the military, continues to face criticism for his approach to America’s armed forces.
David Lapan, a retired Marine colonel who served in the Trump administration as a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, said Trump doesn’t understand the “proper use and role of the military.” The statement comes while the commander in chief faces criticism for deploying thousands of active-duty troops, who are barred from carrying out law enforcement in the US, to the US-Mexico border – a deployment that opponents have called a political “stunt.”
“There was the belief that over time, he would better understand, but I don’t know that that’s the case,” Lapan recently told The New York Times. “I don’t think that he understands the proper use and role of the military and what we can, and can’t, do.”
Well before the controversial border deployment, Trump has consistently sparked controversy via his rhetoric and leadership of the US military.
The president has clashed with Gold Star families on more than one occasion, for example, drawing ire from Democrats and Republicans alike.
More recently, Trump was broadly criticised during a trip to France for skipping a visit to a World War I memorial because of rain.Meanwhile, the president’s decision to send thousands of US troops to the border with Mexico to confront a migrant caravan has been decried as a “stunt,” including by fellow Republicans in Congress.
“I think it’s unfortunate that we have soldiers there, and frankly in Arizona they are stationed in Tucson about 90 miles from the border. So, they are not forward deployed actually on the border,” Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” earlier this week. “I think you can’t call it anything but a stunt here, and it’s unfortunate that they are going to be away from family during the holidays coming up, and we just don’t know what really for.”
Additionally, the president’s decision to not visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day has been frowned upon. Trump told Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview set to air on Sunday he’d been “extremely busy” that day with phone calls. Wallace noted Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, went to the cemetery every year on Veterans Day.
Trump has also been bashed for not visiting US troops in a war zone, which is something his two most recent predecessors did early on in their first terms. The president last month told The Associated Press he will eventually make such a trip, but said he’s been “very busy” thus far.
Former Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday slammed Trump for not visiting troops in a war zone yet at this point in his first term, even as Trump’s orders have sent troops to Afghanistan and Syria, as well as on counterterror missions in Africa.
“I think it’s bigger than just a misstep – I think it’s a failure of an obligation, of a basic obligation of a commander in chief,” Hagel said. “He’s commander in chief of our forces, and not to go to a war zone where we have men and women dying, that’s just wrong.”
One of the reasons Trump has not yet taken a trip to visit troops involved in America’s ongoing military engagements is reportedly because he doesn’t want US forces in these places in the “first place,” his aides told the New York Times. If he visited, then it would “validate” missions Trump does not fully believe in, the aides aided.