At the Commander In Chief forum on Wednesday night, Donald Trump spoke about his thoughts on the current military brass. He was not impressed.
“I think under the leadership Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing for our country,” Trump said. “They’ll probably be different generals, to be honest with you. I mean, I’m looking at the generals,” he later said of a Trump Presidency.
The thing is that generals are not political appointees. While the Commander In Chief is able to dismiss generals, in the past it has only really been for misconduct or failure to performs duties. The wholesale firing of a bloc of generals by a politically elected official is unprecedented, as military officials are traditionally seen as “divorced from politics.”
Generals are traditionally promoted by the military for a specific time. Most terms are two years, and those are often extended beyond that. It is unprecedented for a President to clean out the top military brass for political reasons.
Though maybe this isn’t too surprising, as Trump is a guy that famously said he “knows more about ISIS than the generals do.”