ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked whether McChrystal thought Trump was immoral.“I think he is [immoral],” he responded. “If we want to be governed by someone we wouldn’t do a business deal with because their background is so shady, if we’re willing to do that, then that’s in conflict with who I think we are. And so I think it’s necessary at those times to take a stand.”
Rank: Four-star admiral
Notable experience: Supreme allied commander for NATO
Retirement: From the Navy in 2013
What he’s said: Stavridis called Trump’s plans to withdraw from northeastern Syria a “mistake of epic proportions”; earlier this year he took aim at the president personally in Time magazine, where he explained why he thought the retired generals who had served in Trump’s Cabinet had left.
“What attracted Trump to generals in the first place? It seems he was attracted to the macho, direct, domineering profile that many civilians associate with generals, like Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of a Marine in A Few Good Men,” Stavridis wrote in Time. “He may have thought associating with them would burnish his own credentials as an alpha male. (Remember, he also hired General Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI.) But it has likely dawned on Trump that generals are more cerebral than he ever would have guessed, have a pesky habit of quietly judging him in ways that got under his skin, are more intellectual planners than operational Rambos, and don’t quite care about the politics and media signals that the President holds dear.”
Rank: Four-star general
Notable experience: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and secretary of state under George W. Bush
Retirement: From the Army in 1993
What he’s said: Active in Republican politics in the 1990s, Powell has since said the GOP needs to “get a grip” and that Republican politicians are afraid to speak out, despite a foreign policy “in shambles” under Trump.
“A couple [of] weeks ago, the president put a circle around Southeast Alabama, saying it’s going to get hit by a hurricane. He put it on top of the meteorological prediction,” Powell said in remarks at the New Albany Community Foundation, in Ohio, in October. “In my time, one of us would have gone to the president and said, ‘Mr. President, you screwed up, so we’ve got to fix it and we’ll put out a correction’ … We’ve got to remember that the Constitution started with ‘We the People,’ not ‘Me the President.’ This is not the way the country is supposed to run.”
Rank: Four-star general
Notable experience: Head of United States Southern Command; served as Trump’s secretary of homeland security and then chief of staff, and resigned in 2018
Retirement: From the Marines in 2016
What he’s said: This fall, Kelly criticized Trump’s Syria policy and his White House staff. “I think that, with all due respect to the president, was a catastrophically bad idea [to pull out of northeastern Syria],” he said at a political conference hosted by the Washington Examiner in October. “And I would just offer, it didn’t happen while I was there. A couple of other people recently left the administration and then he went with his instinct. But it was on a number of levels the wrong thing to do … [I told Trump when I left] ‘Don’t hire someone that will just nod and say, ‘That’s a great idea, Mr. President.’ Because you will be impeached … I have an awful lot of second thoughts about leaving. Because whether you like Mr. Trump or not, he’s the president of the United States.”