Today while on ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week” retired four star general David Petraeus criticized the White House’s defense of General John Kelly. General Petraeus said:
“We in uniform protect the rights of others to criticize us, frankly…. I think we’re all fair game.”
Petraeus was responding to a statement made by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a White house press briefing. Sanders was attempting to defend General Kelly’s claim that Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida had taken credit for securing funding for the FBI building in Miami during a speech. Sanders said it would be “highly inappropriate” to question a retired four star general. The speech, which was obtained by the Sun-Sentinel, proved General Kelly’s claim to be false.
In the past General Petreaus has taken criticism for his roles in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as his time as director of the CIA . He spoke of an instance where a full page attack ad was taken in the New York Times before he was to speak on capitol hill. He said “I didn’t appreciate it, needless to say….But at the end of the day, we are fiercely protective of the rights of … Americans to express themselves, even if that includes criticizing us.”
The General was asked about the Rep. Wilson’s comments about Trump’s call to the widow of a fallen soldier killed in Niger on October 4th. He said that we should stop politicizing gold star families and instead we should show them “compassion” and “support” during their time in morning. Petraeus was referring to the recent trend since Trump took office of politicizing the gold star soldiers and their families.
Petraeus believes that Kelly will figure out how to “turn down the volume” on this issue. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but it is unlike given how the administration has handled controversy in the past.