GOP: Retired admiral who Trump attacked is ‘hardly a non-political figure’

The Republican National Committee used Twitter on Monday to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE's ongoing criticism of retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, tweeting that the former Navy SEAL is "hardly a non-political figure." 

The tweet accusing McRaven of partisan leanings earned pushback, including from a progressive veteran's group. 

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"Worth noting after recent comments: Retired Adm. William McRaven was reportedly on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms Special counsel issues rare statement disputing explosive Cohen report MORE’s short list for Vice President in 2016," the GOP account tweeted. "He’s been critical of President @realDonaldTrump— even dating back to the 2016 campaign. He’s hardly a non-political figure."

McRaven was on a long list of possible vice presidential nominees that Clinton’s campaign chairman sent in an email. The email was hacked by Russia and released by WikiLeaks, CBS News reported at the time. 

McRaven was also on a list of staff suggestions for Trump's national security adviser, according to The Washington Post.

Trump for days has been attacking McRaven, calling him a "Hillary Clinton fan" and "Obama-backer" during a Sunday interview. McRaven in a statement to CNN over the weekend said that he "did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else."

"I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for," he added. 

McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, called Trump's anti-media rhetoric "the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime." 

"Worth noting that @GOP is now backing smears against a man who did nothing but dedicate 37 years of his life to defending America, organizing and overseeing the mission to take out one of our most dangerous foes in the process," progressive veteran's group Vote Vets tweeted in response to the GOP post. 

Conservative radio show host and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh tweeted, "So f***ing stupid of the GOP. But they do what Trump says." 

Trump has been suggesting that the U.S. took too long to hunt down bin Laden, saying it should have been easier to locate the al Qaeda leader in Pakistan.

The former Navy SEAL who reportedly killed bin Laden also defended the mission on Monday, saying, "We all wanted to get him as soon as we could."

— Updated 2:44 p.m.