Donald Trump Mocked by Former CIA Head for Not Catching ISIS and Al-Qaeda Leaders

The backlash against President Donald Trump's attack on retired Navy SEAL Admiral William McRaven continued on Monday, with the former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency Michael Hayden mocking the president's own counterterror failures.

Trump made the dismissive comments in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News that aired Sunday, prompting criticism from the military and civilians alike.

McRaven, who led the United States Special Operations Command from 2011 until 2014, has been consistently critical of the president. In February 2017, McRaven said Trump's "attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. When you undermine the people's right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands."

McRaven's comments came up once more during Sunday's program. Trump suggested that McRaven—who commanded the operation to kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011—had been too slow to track down the terrorist leader and was a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Cutting off interviewer Chris Wallace, Trump stated: "OK, he's a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama-backer, and frankly...wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn't it have been nice? You know, living—think of this—living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan."

Hayden tweeted his support for McRaven soon after the interview aired. "How you doing on Zawahiri, Mr President? Abu Bakr al Baghdadi?" he asked, referring to the current leaders of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, respectively, both of whom remain at large.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump promised voters he would be tough on terrorism and hold back nothing in pursuit of America's enemies.

One element of this was a vow to create a plan to destroy ISIS within 30 days of taking office, reported The Independent. Though the group lost the vast majority of its territory in Syria and Iraq, its fighters remain active in the border region between the two countries, while a diffuse network of affiliate organizations has spread across North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Hayden continued, "Bill McRaven is a naval officer and an American hero. Like the ones that gave all at Belleau Woods. You remember them, right?" He was referring to the American troops who died at the Battle of Belleau Wood in the closing stages of World War I. Trump was mocked earlier this month for failing to attend a Belleau Wood commemoration during his visit to France, with the excuse that it was raining.

McRaven has stood by his criticism of the president. In a statement issued to CNN Sunday, the retired four-star admiral explained that he "did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else," noting he was "a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for."

McRaven said he admired all presidents, "regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the Nation together in challenging times."

"I stand by my comment that the President's attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime," he continued. "When you undermine the people's right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands."

Trump has so far refused to walk back his comments, and tweeted on Monday: "Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center.

"President Clinton famously missed his shot," he added. "We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!"

According to fact-checking website Politifact, Trump's claim that he warned of the danger posed by bin Laden in his book written before 9/11 is "mostly false." The website explained, "He did not call on the U.S. to target the terrorist leader individually, or to wage a unilateral war against his [Al-Qaeda] terror network."

Donald Trump Mocked by Former CIA Head for Not Catching ISIS and Al-Qaeda Leaders | U.S.