Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Marine General Joseph Dunford fired back at a reporter who asked him about President Donald Trump during Wednesday’s Pentagon briefing.
Dunford was responding to CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, who pressed him to give his opinion of Trump because “this may be our last opportunity to ask you.” (RELATED: Mattis And General Dunford Make Boys ‘Make-A-Wish’ Dream Come True)
Starr referred to comments from former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, asking Dunford to comment both on Mattis’ assessment of the current political climate and then how he thought Trump had changed over time as Commander-in-Chief.
“Do you agree with Secretary Mattis, who you’ve known so many years, do you believe there is tribalism in this country that certainly threatens democracy?” Starr began. “And to ask you to also reflect as best you can on how you see President Trump changing over the last couple years as — in his role as Commander in Chief. We well know you do not like to talk about the president, but this may be our last opportunity to ask you, so I want to.”
“Barbara, as you know, I worked very hard to remain apolitical and not make political judgments,” Dunford replied, dismissing her first question out of hand. “And your first question is not in my lane. I worked hard to provide military advice to the second secretary, military advice to the president, other members of the National Security Council, and make sure our men and women have the wherewithal to do their job. I’m going to stay in that lane.”
But then Dunford took it a step further, telling Starr in no uncertain terms that he had no intention of ever offering comment on the president, even after he left the service of his country. “And that gets to the second part of your question: I will not now, nor will I when I take off the uniform, make judgments about the President of the United States or the Commander in Chief, I just won’t do it.”