Top Republican on House Armed Services Committee Is “Dismayed” By Trump’s Remarks on the Military

Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, says he’d “dismayed” by President Donald Trump’s remarks questioning the motives of military leaders. Thornberry answered “no” when asked whether it was right for the president to suggest the Pentagon should send troops to war because they are beholden to the defense industry.

“As a matter of fact, I’ve been a little dismayed at what’s happened in the past few days,” Thornberry said. “I know the president says things for effect a lot, but to have a commander in chief question the motivations of military leaders and basically say they’re in it for themselves is wrong, and it gives our adversaries an opening. Even if you think it, you shouldn’t say it.”

Thornberry, who will retire at the end of this term, called Trump’s comments “wrong on the substance.”

“You can say, ‘Well, their judgment is wrong, or they think too much alike.’ There are some legitimate issues to discuss. But their motivation, their patriotism is, to me, without question,” Thornberry said. “And another thing I’ve learned over the last 26 years is the people who have to send folks into war are the most reluctant to go to war because they’ve seen it themselves, they’ve experienced it themselves, they know the cause.”

Thornberry’s comments came after Trump on Monday suggested that the Pentagon does not support his leadership, saying they’re beholden to defense contractors.

“I’m not saying the military is in love with me; the soldiers are,” Trump said at the time. “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”