Trump Says He'd Be a Good General, CNN's Anderson Cooper Says Closest President Got Was Prep School

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper criticized President Donald Trump Wednesday for suggesting he would have made a successful general, noting the president has never served in any military capacity.

Speaking on his Anderson Cooper 360 show, the journalist suggested we will never know if Trump would make a good military leader, largely because the president has long avoided active service and battlefields.

Read More: Donald Trump slams McChrystal after retired general called him immoral, "known for big, dumb mouth"

"The world will never know General Trump, in part because the president never set foot in a combat theater until last week with his trip to Iraq," said the host.

Newsweek subscription offers >

"The closest he came to serving in uniform was his teen years as a student in the New York Military Academy, which was a prep school," he said. "His parents sent him there to straighten out his behavior, apparently."

Trump made his comments during a bizarre Cabinet meeting that was open to the media on Wednesday. At one point, he criticized his military leaders for their strategy in Afghanistan, where in some areas the Taliban and the Islamic State militant group are fighting one another for territorial control.

"I said, 'Why don't you let them fight? Why are we getting in the middle of it?'" the president said. "They go in and they end up fighting both of them. It's the craziest thing I've ever seen," he continued. "I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?"

Trump also took aim at his former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine general who left the administration last month citing differences in opinion between him and the president on foreign policy.

Newsweek subscription offers >

In Wednesday's session, Trump suggested he had "essentially" fired Mattis from his position because he had not done "too good" in Afghanistan, where U.S. forces remain mired in a seemingly unwinnable war against the Taliban.

Trump has been criticized for his bellicosity and apparent readiness to resort to military action abroad, despite having never served in the U.S. military and receiving five draft deferments from service in the Vietnam War—including four educational deferments and one medical deferment, for bone spurs in his heels.

Nonetheless, he has repeatedly gone on the offensive against military leaders, particularly those he considers partisan enemies.

Earlier this week, he launched an attack on retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, who formerly led special operations troops in Afghanistan and has been consistently critical of the president.

Responding to a tweet posted by Fox News's Laura Ingraham that described McChrystal's latest criticism of the president, Trump tweeted, "'General' McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!"

Trump saluting General
President Donald Trump salutes as he arrives for a campaign rally in Estero, Florida, on October 31, 2018. Trump claimed he would have made a successful general, even though the president has never served in any military capacity. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Trump Says He'd Be a Good General, CNN's Anderson Cooper Says Closest President Got Was Prep School | U.S.