Tonight, at a “Commander-In-Chief” forum held on an American aircraft carrier in front of an audience of current and past military personnel, Donald Trump, a candidate for president of the United States who never served in the military due to having “bad feet,” repeatedly denounced U.S. military leadership while heaping praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The generals under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have not been successful,” the GOP nominee proclaimed at the military-focused forum. “Under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the generals have been reduced to rubble, reduced to a point where it is embarrassing for our country.”
Approximately 40 seconds later, Trump said the following when Matt Lauer asked if he’d lost faith in the U.S. military: “I have great faith in the military.”
Trump went on to insinuate that under a Trump administration the incompetent current generals would be fired and replaced by generals that he appoints (this is not something that a president has the power to do). He also said that the U.S. military leadership (presumably under the command of the generals he appoints, which he can’t do) would come up with a plan to defeat ISIS under his presidency.
(It should be noted that Matt Lauer did not offer up any type of a follow-up question after Trump claimed that he would purge and replace most of the generals in the U.S. military, nor did Lauer challenge Trump when he dropped his oft-repeated claim to have been against the Iraq war from the beginning, a point that has repeatedly been proven untrue.)
But the forum wasn’t all doom and gloom, as Trump devoted a couple of minutes to beaming sunshine on Putin, noting his “82 percent approval rating” within the authoritarian Russian state.
“The man has very strong control over a country,” he said. “Now It’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system, but
certainly in that system, he’s been a leader. Far more than our president has been a leader.”
When Lauer pointed out that Putin is likely responsible for widespread cyber-espionage within the U.S., Trump noted that “nobody knows that for a fact.” He added that when Putin “calls me brilliant, I’ll take the compliment” and that “if he says great things about me, I’ll say great things about him.”