Navy SEAL officer who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid suggests Trump could learn about 'integrity' from Obama and Bush

McRavenMcRaven salutes at his 2014 retirement ceremony.Staff Sgt. Sean Harp/Defense Department

    • Retired US Navy Adm. William McRaven, a Navy SEAL who commanded the US Joint Special Operations Command, described President Donald Trump's predecessors as "men of great character" and said he hoped Trump would take cues from their presidencies.
    • "I had the opportunity to work for President [George W. Bush] and of course, President Obama," McRaven said during an interview on CNN. "And while I didn't agree with either men on every issue, they were men of great integrity and great character. And were always trying to do what was right for the nation."
    • McRaven said he believes Trump "tries to do" what he believes is right for the country, but added "he may want to look at the examples of the two presidents that came before him."
    • Trump, who never held political office prior to being elected president, signaled his reluctance in adhering to his predecessors' policies.
    • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Retired US Navy Adm. William McRaven, a Navy SEAL who commanded the US Joint Special Operations Command, described President Donald Trump's predecessors as "men of great character" and said he hoped Trump would take cues from their presidencies.

"I had the opportunity to work for President [George W. Bush] and of course, President [Barack] Obama," McRaven said during a Monday interview on CNN. "And while I didn't agree with either men on every issue, they were men of great integrity, and great character, and were always trying to do what was right for the nation."

"And my hope and my prayers continue to be that President Trump will see that integrity and character, and doing what is right for the nation," McRaven added.

Trump, who never held political office prior to being elected president, signaled his reluctance in adhering to his predecessors' policies. He continues to promote his policies as "the likes of which the world has never seen before," and he frequently blames difficult predicaments to the failures of Obama and Bush.

"The Bush administration did nothing," Trump said of the US's foreign policy on North Korea in 2018. "The Obama administration wanted to do something. He told me it's the single biggest problem. They didn't do anything. It would have been much easier in those days than it is now."

Read more: 'You have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children': Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid rebukes Trump

mcraven mattisMarine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, left, and Navy Adm. William McRaven, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, shake hands on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, prior to testifying before the Senate Armed Services committee hearing to review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2014 and the Future Years Defense Program.Evan Vucci/AP

McRaven said he believes Trump "tries to do" what he believes is right for the country, but added "he may want to look at the examples of the two presidents that came before him."

The former Navy admiral retired from the Navy in 2014 after 36 years of service in the military. During his tenure, he oversaw the raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

McRaven previously questioned Trump's leadership by delivering a scathing rebuke of the president in 2018. In an opinion column published in The Washington Post, McRaven criticized the White House's decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

Brennan, who was deeply critical of the Trump administration before the White House's decision, said on Twitter that the move was "part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics."

"A good leader sets the example for others to follow," McRaven wrote at the time. "A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself."

"Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities," McRaven added, referring to Trump. "Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."

McRaven's recent comments come amid increased US tensions with Iran. Following evidence presented by the US military that Iran was responsible to the attack on two oil tankers, the Defense Department announced on Monday it would send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East.

"With the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East," acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said.

The retired Navy SEAL said he was "not as concerned" about escalating conflict with Iran as other officials appeared to be.

McRaven said that the US military has a "sworn obligation to follow the commander-in-chief," but noted that its officers "have an obligation to resign" if they are unable to perform their duties.

"It's that simple," McRaven said. "As long as it is a lawful, legal order, we have an obligation to follow it."

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