Retired colonels tear into Trump over sending troops to border: ‘A profound betrayal of our military’

Three professors, two of which are retired Army colonels, ripped into President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE's decision to send more than 5,000 U.S. troops to the southern border in the face of the approaching migrant caravan.

In a New York Times op-ed published Sunday, the trio writes that the president has used “military forces” as “toy soldiers.” 

"The president used America’s military forces not against any real threat but as toy soldiers, with the intent of manipulating a domestic midterm election outcome, an unprecedented use of the military by a sitting president," the group wrote, arguing that the order set a dangerous precedent.

ADVERTISEMENT

The group acknowledged that a number of presidents have asked troops to deploy to the border in the past, but noted that it was “usually the National Guard” and in smaller numbers.

"It’s also not unusual for a president to ask the troops to deploy to the border in support of border security operations," they wrote. "Presidents of both parties have sent troops to the border, to provide support functions like engineering, logistics, transportation and surveillance."

"But those deployments have been generally in smaller numbers, usually the National Guard, and never to stop a caravan of refugees and asylum seekers," they wrote.

"[T]his was a blatant political stunt," the group argues. "When partisan actions like this occur, they violate civil-military traditions and erode that faith, with potentially long-term damage to the morale of the force and our democratic practice — all for electoral gain."

Trump has said the troops were deployed to provide logistical support to the border guards already stationed at the southern edge of the country, as a caravan of thousands of immigrants forced its way through Mexico's border and pushed towards the U.S.

Thousands have settled in the border towns of Tijuana and Mexicali, as they wait to apply for asylum, The New York Times reported in a separate news piece

Tijuana city officials fear that 10,000 migrants from the caravans may temporarily settle in Tijuana.

The caravan, and immigration more generally, featured heavily in Trump's messaging in the days leading up to the midterm, with the president calling it an assault on our country and referring to it as an “invasion.”