On Wednesday, President Trump blamed “my generals and my military” for the deaths of four U.S. soldiers during a mission in Niger, stating that he didn’t authorize the mission.
Asked if he personally authorized the mission, Trump offered the following response.
“No, I didn’t, not specifically. I have generals that are great generals. These are great fighters; these are warriors. I gave them authority to do what’s right so that we win. That’s the authority they have. I want to win. And we’re going to win.”
The mission took place on October 4th, and led to the deaths of four Army Green Berets deployed with a unit of Nigerian soldiers in a confrontation with ISIS militants.
President Trump went on to clarify that he trusts his generals to make decisions on his behalf as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, indicating that he is only marginally aware of the state of current military missions.
“My generals and my military, they have decision-making ability. As far as the incident that we’re talking about, I’ve been seeing it just like you’ve been seeing it. I’ve been getting reports. They have to meet the enemy and they meet them tough and that’s what happens.”
Pres. Trump says he didn't "specifically" authorize Niger mission, but gave generals "authority to do what's right so that we win." pic.twitter.com/OAPqjpo3Ja
— ABC News (@ABC) October 25, 2017
Trump, as with most of his decisions, has opted to do the opposite of former President Obama, who was often criticized for slowing down too many military operations by requiring high-level approval while missions were in progress. Instead, Trump has taken a very “hands off” approach, further distancing himself from responsibility.
Back in January after one Navy SEAL died during a raid in Yemen, Trump seemed to blame to his generals, saying “they lost” the SEAL.
As a result of that casualty, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit demanding that files about the mission be made available to the public.