The Left was wrong again: Trump not headstrong, defers to his generals’ experience for decisions involving military conflict
04/09/2017 / By JD Heyes / Comments
The Left was wrong again: Trump not headstrong, defers to his generals’ experience for decisions involving military conflict

You probably remember one of the biggest “fears” of the Left if Donald J. Trump won the presidency was that his temperament and personality made him unfit to be commander-in-chief.

‘We can’t let Trump have his finger on the nuclear button!’ they screeched, just certain that once he became president he would blow up the world.

Only, the election came and went, Trump was inaugurated and has been commander-in-chief for a few months. Not only is the world still intact, but as president, Trump has become much more deferential to his military commanders and advisors than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

As noted by the Washington Times, Trump is “deferential and attentive” when talking to his generals and admirals, owing in large part, no doubt, to time spent attending the New York Military Academy, as well as his inexperience in government matters.

The Times noted further:

People familiar with the budding relationships portray Mr. Trump as often in listening mode among his generals and as accessible as the next phone call. They contrast the billionaire real estate developer’s affinity for the top brass with former President Barack Obama’s documented standoffishness.

Last week’s massive Tomahawk missile strike against Syria, in retaliation for the regime of Bashar al-Assad once again using chemical weapons against opponents and civilians, proves that the Pentagon is once more taking the lead in presenting military options to the White House rather than the other way around. (RELATED: Wrong again: Rice, Obama admin, claimed Syrian chemical weapons were eradicated)

And honestly, given the make-up of Trump’s national and domestic security team, all of this makes perfect sense. On a daily basis, there are three Marines and one soldier near Trump at all times. Also, Trump is surrounded by a number of senior generals and their combined decades of experience. He also named retired generals to head up the Defense Department – retired Marine Gen. James Mattis — and the Department of Homeland Security, retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly.

Trump’s ever-present national security advisor, H. R. McMaster, is currently serving as an active duty Army lieutenant general who is well-versed in history and doctrine on the battlefield.

All four of these men have experience on the ground fighting in Iraq against radical Islam. That gives them a wealth of knowledge regarding the country’s various tribes, factions and political leaders who will lead a post-ISIS Iraq that Trump can tap into.

“Unlike Mr. Trump,” the Times reports, “these scholar warriors are also voracious readers. Gen. McMaster, for example. Wrote a book on how Lyndon B. Johnson bamboozled the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam War.”

However, they also share Trump’s disdain for the politically correct as well as his unusual sleep pattern (the workaholic commander-in-chief sleeps far less than normal).

One retired officer who is familiar with the generals told the Times that Trump is really close to Mattis and Kelly. Both of those men rose similarly through Marine Corps officer ranks to eventually head up combatant commands; Mattis led U.S. Central Command, responsible for the Middle East, and Kelly U.S. Southern Command, which essentially covers everything south of the U.S./Mexico border.

It appears as though Trump’s business mastery of picking the right persons for the right positions is paying off.

“No. 1, they get along very well,” the former officer told the Times. “I call it street sense. They know how to talk the line, and Trump does too. Trump is like talking to a concrete worker. These two generals have got a man who listens and does not pretend like Obama and others to know everything. When the president is out of his lane and needs advice, these guys are right in there.”

Which is a great thing for the country, as well, given how Russia and Iran are posturing and talking war in the wake of Trump’s order to strike Syria. (RELATED: Russia, Iran lay down gauntlet following Trump strike in Syria)

“The president seems to like very successful sports figures. It could be that he is attracted to the legendary reputation that accompanies the Marine Corps and through that lens the accomplishments of four-star Marine generals, amplified by their typical plain-spoken, reality-based style of addressing issues,” said Dakota Wood, a retired Marine officer and Heritage Foundation analyst who worked on the transition, in an interview with the Times.

Obama, by comparison, had a very cool relationship with his generals – likely the result of his arrogance and general dismissiveness of the military culture.

In fact once, former Obama-era Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in his memoir, “Duty,” Obama felt compelled to add in one meeting, “That’s an order.”

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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