President Donald Trump accused the top brass of the Department of Defense of needlessly waging wars to boost the profits of defense contractors during a Labor Day press conference held at the White House.
“I’m not saying the military’s in love with me, the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,” Trump argued.
Trump: "I'm not saying the military's in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars, so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy" pic.twitter.com/uu1UnBnHbT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 7, 2020
There was widespread shock over Trump’s accusation, which came as he was attempting to deny reports he has contempt for the United States military.
“In an unprecedented public attack by a sitting US president on the leadership of the US military, President Trump has accused US military leaders of seeking to start wars to boost the profits of defense contractors,” CNN national security reporter Ryan Browne tweeted.
“For what it’s worth, President Trump has appointed all the top level people at the Pentagon, which includes both uniformed military officers and civilian personnel,” Browne noted.
Here’s what others were saying about Trump’s comments:
Wait, so after insisting he'd never insult military veterans, Trump goes on live television and accuses military leaders of being warmongers?
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) September 7, 2020
Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the US military. But this comes during 9-11 commemoration here at Pentagon & military bases around the world. Generals have held dying troops in their arms, buried them at Arlington and 19 years later still comfort families. https://t.co/8W6vom3gsF
— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) September 7, 2020
The White House is aware that they don't have a bench of top military officials willing to defend the president. But denigrating them as mainly serving the military-industrial complex is quite something. https://t.co/L7EPaAXSGW
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 7, 2020
Perhaps @EsperDoD should defend the honor of those with whom he serves at the Pentagon? He has little to lose, since he's probably going to be fired anyway. Why not go out on a high note? https://t.co/kirCG6Zmui
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) September 7, 2020
What's also notable about Trump now railing against the "military industrial complex" is that he spent most of his first term touting how much funding he got for the military for those very same planes and bombs. https://t.co/DDGglaMSHp
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) September 7, 2020
This is basically confirmation of the Atlantic’s story about Trump calling our troops suckers and losers. Trump is pissed that, he thinks, the generals leaked this to the media. So now the Pentagon’s top generals are part of the ever-growing “swamp.’
— John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️🌈 (@aravosis) September 7, 2020
He’s Commander-in-Chief. He’s shitting on his own military leaders and trying to divide the ranks. This is insane. — Trump accuses Pentagon leaders of wanting to 'fight wars' to make defense companies rich via @JeffSchogol https://t.co/iA8DyR8ZLR
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) September 7, 2020
I know you do not believe facts matter. But if you are really opposed to companies that make bombs and planes making money, why have you proposed over $140 billion MORE in defense spending than Obama, including a slush fund for endless wars. https://t.co/W18IN0WGFM
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) September 7, 2020
Pretty unusual to see a President accusing his own appointees and senior military in the Pentagon of being war profiteers. https://t.co/zAxo70NEtF
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) September 7, 2020
""We have purchased the finest planes, missiles, rockets, ships, and every other form of military equipment — all made in the United States of America." – Donald Trump, 2020 State of the Union address
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) September 7, 2020