Donald Trump has done a terrible job of handling the families of fallen U.S. soldiers, and he and his administration have been scrambling behind the scenes to try to cover it up – and someone inside the Pentagon wants to make sure you know about it. That’s the upshot from an oddly specific leak coming out of the Department of Defense headquarters, which appears to have been a specific attempt by military brass at retaliating against Trump after his week of disrespecting the military.
After Trump publicly (and falsely) claimed that he had contracted the families of nearly every U.S. soldier who had died on his watch, while also insisting that President Obama and other former Presidents had not properly done so, the Trump administration frantically began emailing the Pentagon to try to cover up the mess, according to a new Roll Call report (link). This kind of butt-covering isn’t a surprise. The real shock here is that the email exchange was promptly leaked by someone within the Pentagon.
This raises the question of who in the Pentagon would have had access to these emails to begin with. Considering the frantic nature of the Trump administration’s request, it would likely have been sent to someone at or near the top of the hierarchy. This strongly suggests that someone working on Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ own staff is the leaker. Considering the loyal nature of the military, it’s difficult to envision anyone on General Mattis’ staff leaking such a thing without believing that Mattis would have approved.
The question now becomes if this is just a proverbial warning shot from the military to Donald Trump, or if this might be just the beginning of more damaging military leaks about Trump to follow. In any case, it’s clear that someone high up in the military brass believes Trump crossed an unforgivable line this week.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report