U.S. Army Chief Rebukes Trump: Military Leaders Only Recommend Combat as Last Resort

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Lightning streaking across the sky as President Donald Trump walks down a set of stairs from Air Force One carrying an umbrella as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, August 28, 2020.
Lightning streaking across the sky as President Donald Trump walks down a set of stairs from Air Force One carrying an umbrella as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, August 28, 2020. Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

The U.S. Army's head said on Tuesday that military leaders would only recommend sending troops to combat when it was in the national security interest or as a last resort, but declined to comment on President Donald Trump suggesting that leaders wanted to fight wars to keep weapon makers happy.

"Many of these leaders have sons and daughters that serve in the military, many of these leaders have sons and daughters who have gone to combat or may be in combat right now," U.S. Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said during an event.

"I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it is required in national security and in the last resort. We take this very, very seriously in how we make our recommendations," he added.

Trump said Monday that top Defense Department leaders want to keep waging wars in order to keep defense contractors “happy.”

Trump continues to fight allegations that he made offensive comments about fallen U.S. service-members, including calling World War I dead at an American military cemetery in France “losers” and “suckers” in 2018. The Atlantic first reported on the anonymously sourced allegations.

At a White House news conference Monday, Trump repeated his claim that the story was a “hoax” and said: “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me. The soldiers are.”

However, he added, “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

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