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How Trump fell out of love with his generals, and why the feeling is mutual

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U.S. President Donald Trump picked retired generals for some of his most senior national security posts when he took office and boasts of heavy spending on the U.S. military that he asserts is unmatched in history.

He has made getting U.S. allies to increase their own military spending a cornerstone of foreign policy along with a commitment to walk away from “ridiculous endless wars” in the Middle East that have killed thousands of U.S. troops.

But the Republican president has also ridiculed his top generals, ignoring their advice on some key issues and questioning their intelligence, courage and commitment to their soldiers.

Critics say Trump has used the military as a prop and purposefully undermined Pentagon efforts to remain apolitical.

A businessman and former reality TV star, Trump in 2016 won the presidency, his first public office, while challenging the establishment, including even fellow Republicans. He often, even publicly, rejects advice, most recently that of his health experts on the coronavirus, without losing much ground among his supporters. It remains to be seen whether this dismissive approach, including with his generals, leads to victory in his November election bid for a second four-year term.

This month Trump, who never served in the military, had to battle a report in The Atlantic that on a 2018 visit to France he referred to American soldiers killed during World War One as “losers” and “suckers.”

A review of Trump’s speeches and tweets throughout his presidency and interviews with aides and military officials show a contradictory and steadily deteriorating relationship, with Trump sometimes gushing with praise for his generals and other times portraying them as incompetent.

Trump likes to say he pays more attention to the rank-and-file.

“I learn more sometimes from soldiers, what’s going on, than I do from generals. I do. I hate to say it. I tell the generals all the time,” Trump told a convention of conservatives in 2019.

When he was accused of disparaging service members this month, Trump returned to the same theme and denied any wrongdoing.

"I'm not saying the........

© Japan Today

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