'That's just not right': Navy SEAL who oversaw bin Laden raid speaks out against Trump clearing protesters for church photo op

rpickrell@businessinsider.com (Ryan Pickrell)
·2 min read
Admiral William McRaven
Adm. William McRaven.

Charles Dharapak/AP Images

  • Retired Adm. William McRaven said Friday that there was "nothing morally right" about forcefully clearing Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, so President Donald Trump could take photos in front of a church.

  • "You're not going to use, whether it is the military or the National Guard or law enforcement, to clear peaceful American citizens for the president of the United States to do a photo op," he said. "There is nothing morally right about that."

  • He also defended the many former military leaders who have spoken out this week, saying that it is "great to see the voices being raised and a little bit of sanity, hopefully, coming back to this very, very tragic situation."

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Retired Adm. William McRaven said Friday morning that there was "nothing morally right" about forcefully clearing protesters from a park so that President Donald Trump could walk over to a damaged church and take photos holding a Bible.

"When you're in the military, there are three criteria for every decision we make. It has to be moral, legal, and ethical. Ethical, you have to follow the rules, McRaven, who had a distinguished career as a Navy SEAL and who oversaw the raid that took out Osama bin Laden, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday.

"Legal, you have to follow the law. And, morally, you have to follow what you know to be right," he explained.

On Monday, Trump announced plans for a tough military crackdown on ongoing unrest. He then walked through Lafayette Park, which had been forcefully cleared of peaceful protesters moments earlier, to take photos at St. John's Church.

"That's just not right," McRaven said.

"You're not going to use, whether it is the military or the National Guard or law enforcement, to clear peaceful American citizens for the president of the United States to do a photo op," he continued. "There is nothing morally right about that."

During the Friday interview, McRaven also defended the many former military leaders who have spoken out against Trump's militaristic approach to ongoing nationwide unrest.

"I was very pleased to see Jim Mattis, and obviously Mike Mullen, and John Kelly come out and reinforce what we know to be the principles of the US military," he said. "We all raise our right hands and swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States. It is not to the president of the United States. It is to the Constitution," McRaven said.

He said that it is "great to see the voices being raised and a little bit of sanity, hopefully, coming back to this very, very tragic situation."

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