Two weeks after Donald Trump ordered a U.S. military operation in Yemen which ended in calamity and resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL, he’s now trying to blame his own generals for that death. It might be the most cowardly thing any U.S. president has ever uttered. Because even our worst presidents never talked like this. I should know, because a Navy SEAL friend of mine once died under a previous president whom I didn’t vote for.
I don’t like to politicize the death of my friend, whom I’d known since we were nine years old, but I’ll say this: he died in a shitty Afghanistan war, shortly after a shitty president George W. Bush diverted troops away from Afghanistan to go invade Iraq. Was Bush directly at fault for the death of my friend? I’ve wrestled with that question for years. But I’ll say this much for Bush: I never heard him try to claim that any military deaths on his watch were the fault of someone else. He at least seemed to understand that when he sent troops into battle, they were his responsibility. And that’s why Donald Trump’s words today are nothing short of stunning.
For absolute context, here are Trump’s exact words regarding the matter: “They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do ― the generals ― who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.” Ryan is in reference to the U.S. Navy SEAL who died. And “they” is in clear reference to the generals. He’s blaming them.
Does Donald Trump not get that he’s Commander in Chief of the United States military? Does he not get that he, and he alone, held the power to order or to not order the Yemen raid? Because whether it’s Trump’s fault or not, the death of Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens is Trump’s responsibility. Even our worst presidents have understood that much. Trump has taken things to a stunning new low. And since he doesn’t want or understand the responsibility of being Commander in Chief, Donald Trump must immediately resign the presidency.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report