Retired Gen. McChrystal: Trump's attacks on military service members are 'disturbing'

Retired Gen. McChrystal: Trump's attacks on military service members are 'disturbing'
© Greg Nash

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Wednesday denounced President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE's attacks on military service members, including the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO MORE (R-Ariz.) and retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

"His discussions on Bill McRaven, as well as his previous discussions on John McCain and others have been something that’s deeply disturbing to a lot of thoughtful people,” McChrystal said on ABC's Powerhouse Politics podcast. “The fact that he would take on people in this vitriolic manner, I think is pretty upsetting to people." 


"And the fact that he would be dismissive of the kinds of service that people like John McCain and others have given is also disturbing," McChrystal added. "I don’t think it builds up the kind of trust that military people depend upon." 

The president earlier this month aggressively criticized McRaven, who over oversaw the 2011 operation that killed bin Laden. After McRaven called Trump's antagonistic relationship with the media a "threat to democracy," Trump accused him of political bias toward Democrats and suggested the U.S. took too long to hunt down bin Laden.

The McRaven controversy came as Trump has been fielding continued criticism over his relationship with the military, as his detractors slam his comments about prominent veterans, his decision to skip a visit to a World War I cemetery in France last month and the fact that Trump has not yet visited troops overseas.

McChrystal, who just released a new book called "Leaders: Myth and Reality" about prominent figures throughout history, told ABC that he does not agree with Trump's recent assertion that no one has been more "with" the military than he has. Trump has frequently pointed to the administration's large budget for the military as a sign of his unflagging support. 

“[Funding is] not the best metric of whether you support the military," McChrystal said. "The size of the defense budget is not a measure of patriotism or connection with those in service."

“I don’t think that President Trump has developed as deep — a real connection of trust — with the military as perhaps he thinks he has," he added.