Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, the former head of US Special Operations Command who oversaw the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said he is voting for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative,” McRaven wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday. “But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy.”
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McRaven, who has been critical of President Donald Trump in the past, did not mention Trump by name in his op-ed. But he did explicitly name the President during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper later Monday.
“It was a difficult decision… to announce that I was voting. Obviously, you know, as a senior retired military officer these are challenging times and there’s a little bit of an unwritten rule that senior officers don’t come out and endorse a candidate,” McRaven said on “The Lead.” “However, I felt that the direction of the country was heading in such a bad direction that we needed new leadership and that Joe Biden will be a much, much better leader than Donald Trump.”
In his op-ed titled “Biden Will Make America Lead Again,” McRaven warned that “the world no longer looks up to America” and that “without American leadership the world will indeed be transformed, just not in the way we hope.”
“They have been witness to our dismissiveness, our lack of respect and our transactional approach to global issues. They have seen us tear up our treaties, leave our allies on the battlefield and cozy up to despots and dictators,” he wrote. “They have seen our incompetence in handling the pandemic and the wildfires. They have seen us struggle with social injustice. They no longer think we can lead, because they have seen an ineptness and a disdain for civility that is beyond anything in their memory.”
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McRaven, who said he went to the polls in Texas this week, argued that the US needs a president “who understands the importance of American leadership, at home and abroad.”
“We need a leader of integrity whose decency and sense of respect reflects the values we expect from our president. We need a president for all Americans, not just half of America,” he wrote.
McRaven last year wrote a scathing op-ed in The New York Times in which he argued that the US is under attack from Trump. He told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” that Trump is “undermining us from without.”
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Trump has previously dismissed criticism from McRaven, labeling him a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2018.
Last week, the President promoted a baseless conspiracy theory about Seal Team 6 and the bin Laden raid, leading to a rebuke by one of the Navy SEAL members who took part in the operation.
This story has been updated with additional comments from McRaven.
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.