Over the weekend, President Donald Trump criticized the bin Laden Affair in a recent interview with Fox News. “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?” Trump aimed his attacks not only at the military, but mainly focused on Retired Adm. William McRaven. McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, is standing by his previous statement that Trump’s attacks on the news media represented “the greatest threat to democracy” after Trump dismissed him as a “Hillary Clinton backer” in his interview with Fox News.
McRaven then reported to CNN that, “[he] did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else. I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for. I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.”
“I stand by my comment that the President’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime,” McRaven said, referencing remarks he made about Trump last year. “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”
McRaven’s comment came just hours after “Fox News Sunday” aired an interview with Trump in which the President dismissed McRaven and criticize the military for having not killed bin Laden sooner. These remarks were made during a tense exchange with Fox News’ Chris Wallace after the host brought up McRaven.
“Bill McRaven, retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years, former head of US Special Operations…” Wallace started.
“Hillary Clinton fan,” Trump said, cutting off Wallace.
“Special Operations …” Wallace continued.
“Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan,” Trump said.
“Who led the operations,” Wallace added, “commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden, says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.”
“OK, he’s a Hilary Clinton backer and an Obama-backer, and frankly … wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn’t it have been nice? You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan.”
The bin Laden raid was a success. Not only was bin Laden killed, but also thousands of important documents about al Qaeda were recovered during the operation. As a result, it is arguably the most successful special operations mission in American history.
After stepping down from leading the Special Operations Command, McRaven became the chancellor of the University of Texas, where as an undergraduate he had majored in journalism, but he has since retired from that role.