Retired U.S. Air Force four-star general Michael Hayden didn't mince words when it comes to Donald Trump's "outrageous assault on truth, the free press and the first amendment."

Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on the free press, and on the very of notions of truth and facts, are thoroughly antithetical to the principles of our democracy.

And as one four-star general noted plainly and disturbingly, they call into question who we even are overall as a nation.

Retired U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden, who also served as Director of the National Security Agency and later of the CIA, offered a stunning assessment of how Trump’s lies and hostility to the first amendment make him view his life’s work in service to the country if they now represent who we truly are.

Trump petulantly lashed out at CNN International Saturday night, calling it “a major source of (Fake) news,” and saying that “they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

Hayden’s response was chilling:

That a man who spent decades in the military, earning over two dozen awards and decorations, and served another decade in the intelligence community, fears all of his years of service could come to be for nought in the Trump era is nothing short of frightening.

The press that Trump so snidely derides has proven itself to be far more crucial to the security of this country and its  citizens than Trump ever has, or likely ever will.

And military leaders and intelligence officials like Hayden have consistently pushed back on Trump’s hollow patriotism.

Hayden has given over 40 years of his life in service to the nation, through multiple administrations both Republican and Democratic.

Trump has spent less than one year of his life in ostensible service to the country, which he has used as little more than a massive ego-boosting, self-aggrandizing — though failing — business opportunity.

If distinguished Americans like Hayden are worried that the damage Trump is doing to the foundation of the country could upend all their years of work to bolster it, the rest of us ought to take grave notice.