Lt. General Mark Hertling knows a thing or two about military matters and foreign policy. He served for 37 years, and when he retired he was the Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army. Prior to that he served as the Assistant Division Commander of the First Armored Division during the early days of the Iraq War. General Hertling listened to Donald Trump’s “major” foreign policy address on April 27 and came away unimpressed with what the GOP frontrunner had to say.
The general joined CNN anchor Amara Walker on Wednesday evening to talk about Trump’s speech, and he had absolutely nothing good to say about it. He also issued a caution about what could happen to the military should Trump be elected.
Hertling says that as he listened to the speech he was listening for things that discussed national security policy or strategy. “They weren’t there,” he tells Walker. Then he says this:
I just got an indicator that it was as painful for him to give the speech as it was for many of us to listen to the speech. He doesn’t quite understand some of the things he’s talking about.
Ouch! But never fear, Trump will certainly have a few things to say about critics like the general. Remember, this is the man who said that his experience in military school was better training than soldiers get. How dare a mere three-star general criticize him? Besides, he got a lot of love for his speech from military “experts” on Twitter like this one:
GREATEST FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH SINCE WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 27, 2016
Hertling aims his sharpest criticism at what the military could look like with Trump as commander-in-chief. He says that there are commanders who would resign rather than follow orders from Trump to waterboard or perform other illegal acts of torture. Then he gets to the heart of the problem with Trump, not just on military matters, but in many other situations as well:
I think there’s an inability for Mr. Trump…to take advice. …I think there’s a lot of folks in the military that are seeing Mr. Trump not being someone who they can give advice to. But rather someone that they would be very concerned about him firing them, and that falls under the category of toxic leadership.
The general wraps up his comments by observing that those who think that Trump would be a great president because of his (allegedly) successful business background are mistaken. “Some of the things Mr. Trump thinks he can do, because he does them in a boardroom, he can’t do with other sovereign leaders,” he said.
Hertling offers this thought in conclusion, and it’s a damning commentary not just of Trump, but of the way many Republicans go about handling foreign policy:
There are other cultures, other languages that like to do things their way, too, and don’t like to be considered the 51st state of the United States.
Here are General Hertling’s thoughts about Trump’s disastrous foreign policy speech:
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