Osama bin Laden Raid Architect Defends Retired General McChrystal After Trump Insults

Retired Admiral William McRaven on Tuesday defended former General Stanley McChrystal, whom Trump had derided in a tweet as a "Hillary lover" with a "big, dumb mouth."

The dispute is the latest high-profile war of words between a former senior U.S. military official and the president, with Trump lashing out at McChrystal after he said in an interview that the president lacks integrity.

McRaven, who oversaw the raid that led to the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, has himself been a target of the president's invective after criticizing Trump's attacks on the press in November. The president had also accused him of being a "Hillary fan."

McRaven in a statement to CNN described McChrystal as "one of the great generals of this generation and the finest officer I ever served with."

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International Security Assistance Force Commander General Stanley A. McChrystal (center) meets with high-ranking military personnel at the forward operating base (FOB) Walton, outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan, on October 7, 2009. Trump derided McChrystal in a tweet as a “Hillary lover” with a “big, dumb mouth.” Getty Images

"He is a deep strategic thinker, tactically brilliant, with unparalleled personal courage," McRaven told CNN of McChrystal. "His leadership of special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan unquestionably saved the lives of thousands of American and allied troops, as well as countless civilians. No general I know has given more in the service of this country."

Neither McRaven nor McChrystal endorsed a candidate during the 2016 presidential election. McChrystal praised Hillary Clinton for her tenure as secretary of state in a 2014 Huffington Post interview, but stopped short of endorsing her for the presidency.

McChrystal, a retired four-star general, had in an interview with ABC News said he would not work for the Trump administration. "I don't think he tells the truth," McChrystal told ABC's Martha Raddatz on This Week. McChrystal responded when asked if he thought Trump was immoral, "I think he is."

Trump responded to the criticism late Tuesday. "'General' McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!" he tweeted.

McChrystal retired as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2010, after comments to Rolling Stone magazine in which he criticized senior Obama administration officials. He was described by former defense secretary Robert Gates as "perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I had ever met."

It is not the first time McChrystal has spoken out against Trump, claiming that America was undergoing a "leadership crisis" in an op-ed for CNN in November.

He also came to the defense of McRaven after Trump's attack that month, in which the president claimed that the U.S. military should have assassinated bin Laden sooner. "The president is simply wrong, he's uninformed and pushing an idea that's not helpful," he told CNN.

Osama bin Laden Raid Architect Defends Retired General McChrystal After Trump Insults | U.S.