Trump Under Fire for Calling U.S. Troops 'Killing Machines' in Defense of Green Beret

Trump sparked controversy on Saturday when he weighed in on a former U.S. Army commando will face a military trial in December on allegations that he murdered a bomb-maker years ago in Afghanistan

President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley in Washington, October 7, 2019.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump sparked controversy on Saturday when he weighed in on a former U.S. Army commando who will face a military trial in December on allegations that he murdered a bomb-maker years ago in Afghanistan.

Trump, who has pledged to order a review of the case before, tweeted, “The case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is now under review at the White House. Mathew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bombmaker. We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!” Trump tagged Fox News host Pete Hegseth in the tweet which came after the case was discussed during a segment on "Fox & Friends Weekend." 

Prominent Trump critic Bill Kristol responded, ““We train our boys to be killing machines.” No we don’t. And it’s beyond disgusting that an American president would say this about our military. Shouldn’t senior military leaders set the record straight?”

Vox journalist Aaron Rupar added, “Note that Trump isn’t arguing Golsteyn didn’t commit murder, but instead is suggesting it’s okay because “we train our boys to be killing machines.” Twisted stuff.” While author and historian Stephen Wertheim said, “The president is a militarist.”

U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer said late Thursday in a news release that Maj. Mathew Golsteyn’s court-martial is scheduled to begin Dec. 2 in a Fort Bragg courthouse. The electronic docket shows Golsteyn is charged with murder.

The charge stems from the former Green Beret’s 2010 deployment to Afghanistan when he’s accused of killing the suspected bomb-maker.

Golsteyn has said he believes the Afghan was a legal target because of his behavior at the time of the shooting.