The head of the U.S. military's Special Operations Command expressed alarm about the "unbelievable turmoil" under this administration, and implied that the existing chaos threatens our national security.
In a highly unusual statement, a currently serving military commander has publicly expressed concern about the political stability of the United States. As reported by the New York Times, Army General Raymond “Tony” Thomas made the following stunning comments:
Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the military’s Special Operations Command, expressed concern about upheaval inside the White House. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” he said at a military conference on Tuesday.
Asked about his comments later, General Thomas said in a brief interview, “As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible.”
Thomas, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, commands the U.S. Special Operations troops, including the Navy Seals and Army Green Berets. These elite forces have played and continue to play a central role in the nation’s military operations in the wake of the attacks on 9/11.
Thomas’ remarks came in the wake of the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn under a cloud of questions about inappropriate contact with the Russian government, leaving the nation’s top national security policy position unfilled during a time the military is engaged in ongoing actions in a number of countries.
As a candidate, Donald Trump sold himself as someone who could be a strong leader in terms of the military and foreign relations, but his presidency is proving to be characterized by destabilization of relationships with allied nations, while simultaneously being tested by nations who have been longstanding threats to our national security, including North Korea and Russia.
North Korea tested a ballistic missile, the first provocation since Trump took office. Incredibly, Trump responded to the crisis in full view and hearing of the public while at dinner at his Mar-A-Lago club in Palm Beach, which constituted a serious breach of national security protocol, with guests taking photos of events as they unfolded and posting them to Facebook.
And a Russian spy ship was observed off the East Coast of the United States, its first patrol along those waters since 2015:
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 14, 2017
Later, the ship moved in closer and was spotted 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut near a U.S. submarine base:
Russia is acting like it has a permission slip to expand influence, test limits of reach. Questions are obvious: does it, and if so, why? https://t.co/6Hsm7T2GO2
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 15, 2017
UPDATE: Russian spy ship now located 30 miles south of Groton, CT home to a US Navy submarine base. Russian ship "loitering," US official
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) February 15, 2017
Russia also recently secretly deployed two battalions of ground-based cruise missiles. This deployment violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed in 1987 by then President Ronald Reagan and then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and is a clear test of the Trump administration and U.S. commitment to our NATO allies.
Additionally, earlier this month, Russian military jets engaged in three separate incidents of what was characterized by a U.S. official as “unsafe and unprofessional” actions close to a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, which includes NATO and U.S.-Russia policy within its purview, released the following statement about recent Russian aggression:
While this is not wholly unprecedented, it’s part of a series of aggressive actions by Russia that threaten U.S. national security and the security of our allies. Just yesterday, news broke that Russia violated an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Coupled with escalating fighting in eastern Ukraine and Russian jets buzzing a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea, Putin clearly thinks the Trump administration has given him a permission slip to flex his muscles. President Trump and his administration must end their silence and immediately respond to these threats to our national security.
Despite Trump’s complete lack of political and governing experience, he conned many voters into seeing him as someone capable of being competent as a political leader on both domestic and international fronts. The reality is that Trump’s presidency is threatening U.S. national security — and the very stability of our nation itself.