The Pentagon and military are growing increasingly concerned about President Donald Trump and his decision-making, a CNN report said Thursday.
Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr explained that tensions have been mounting for months among military officers. The recent decision to pardon three service members accused of war crimes, however, caused the pot to boil over.
Citing a long-serving military officer CNN said he warned of a “morale problem,” and senior Pentagon officials are privately saying “they are disturbed by the President’s behavior.”
Trump’s “impulsive and contradictory decision-making” is causing a swath of problems. Sudden announcement to stop military tests last year came after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un said they bothered him. After working with Kurdish allies for years to fight ISIS, Trump abruptly pulled troops out of the area and abandoned the Kurds because Turkey demanded it of him.
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin said that top officials couldn’t believe the president’s actions.
“Shock continues to reverberate through the U.S. military that the White House essentially green-lighted this Turkish operation during that conversation,” she said days after the decision was made.
This week, however, was the tipping point, CNN reported. Multiple military officials and retired officers have “significant worries” about excusing war crimes, which they see as very serious offenses that should not be excused.
Former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer posted an op-ed Wednesday night at The Washington Post saying that Trump’s intervention and pardon was “shocking and unprecedented. … It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”
CNN noted that Trump upped the ante during a rally Tuesday saying that the opposition to pardoning Gallagher was from the “deep state.”
“In fact, senior Pentagon officials had been unanimously opposed to the President’s intervention because they believed it would undermine military discipline and order,” CNN reported.
“At least two senior military officers were reluctant to appear alongside Trump at events in recent months, because of unease that he might make partisan political remarks while they were present,” the report cited sources close to both officers. “Several senior commanders are considering writing a memo to the troops reminding them of their moral and legal responsibilities on the battlefield.”
It’s a sensitive matter because they’re awaiting high-level Pentagon approval for releasing the memo, fearful it will seem like a rebuke of the president and turn into even more drama with the White House.