On CNN Thursday, a panel discussed President Donald Trump's interference in the case of convicted war criminal Eddie Gallagher — and noted that it is part of a broader pattern of the president believing he knows better than his military experts.
"This is an extension of a broader point he makes that Washington is working against him and he's fighting for real people, real Americans, fighting for warriors," said Wall Street Journal White House reporter Catherine Lucey. "The machine of Washington is stacked against him. You'll hear more of this theme with this and other cases. We have seen him again and again use a really expansive view of executive powers with military, DOJ and agencies. When he wants his way, he's bold about going through whatever the advice is."
"He's run up against military leadership on a number of issues," agreed anchor Nia-Malika Henderson. "Think about the withdrawal from Syria, Afghanistan troop levels, the ban on transgender servicemembers, which I believe he announced via tweet, participation in NATO, ending war games with South Korea, pardons for alleged war crimes, which we are talking about now."
"The president said, I know more than the generals," said Washington Post White House reporter Toluse Olorunnipa. "We have seen it with the long list of situations where he basically contradicts his own experts, his own military leaders, and says, I'm the military commander in chief, without following the briefing he gets from leaders, saying, I'm going with my gut on everything from whether we should pull troops from Syria to whether we should keep troops in Afghanistan. Josh and I were at Mar-a-Lago when the president had phone calls with the military leaders. He spent time saying, I know what we should be doing when it comes to buying ships for the military. You can expect that again."