William McRaven, the retired U.S. Navy admiral who directed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, endorsed Joe Biden for president in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
The article titled, "Biden Will Make America Lead Again" argued that the U.S. is in "need of a president with decency and a sense of respect."
McRaven wrote: "I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility."
McRaven's endorsement comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on retweeting a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Osama bin Laden during a town hall event on NBC on Thursday.
Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked Trump about the retweet, saying, "Why would you send a lie like that to your followers?"
Trump replied, "That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”
Guthrie, not satisfied, hit back, “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”
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Trump spread the conspiracy theory with a retweet on Twitter Tuesday, alleging that bin Laden is still alive and that Joe Biden and Barack Obama “may have had Seal Team 6 killed.”
The former Navy Seal who killed bin Laden blasted Trump on CNN Wednesday. Robert O'Neill, 44, expressed to host Chris Cuomo his shock to see the "highest-ranking person in the country ... trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes" in the United States.
McRaven was head of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in 2011 when a team of Navy SEALs killed bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader, in Pakistan. He also led the 2009 rescue of Richard Phillips, a ship captain who was captured by Somali pirates and later portrayed by Tom Hanks in a movie.
A former Navy SEAL himself, McRaven retired from the Navy in 2014 and led the University of Texas system until 2018.
While giving MIT's commencement speech in March, McRaven drew on “real heroes," saying he has seen “on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the hospitals fighting COVID-19, on the streets keeping America safe and open.”
He said that, like SEALs, graduates will need to weather difficulty to reach triumph. And he said they should expect opposition.
“If you hope to save the world, you will have to stand by your convictions,” he said. “You will have to confront the ignorant with facts. You will have to challenge the zealots with reason. You will have to defy the naysayers and the weak kneed who have not the constitution to stand tall.”
McRaven, 64, had originally been scheduled to deliver his address during a ceremony at the school’s campus in Cambridge. But like dozens of other U.S. colleges, MIT canceled its campus graduation amid the coronavirus pandemic and moved it online.