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After Trump remarks, Army chief defends top brass

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The head of the U.S. Army defended leaders of the armed forces on Tuesday, a day after President Donald Trump accused the country's top military brass of wanting to fight endless wars to satisfy military contractors:

"They want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy."

U.S. Army Chief of Staff James McConville, the Army's top general, said that military leaders would only recommend sending troops into combat when it was in the interest of national security or as a last resort, adding:

"Many of these leaders have sons and daughters that serve in the military, many of these leaders have sons and daughters who have gone to combat or may be in combat right now."

McConville, who Trump appointed to his post, declined to comment directly on Trump's criticism of Pentagon leaders, saying the military should remain out of politics, especially this close to an election.

Trump's comments come after a report last week that he had called fallen U.S. troops buried in Europe "losers" and declined to visit an American cemetery because he thought it was unimportant.

Trump has denied the reports.

On Monday, Reuters White House Correspondent Jeff Mason asked Trump if he understood why some people didn't believe his denials...

TRUMP: "No, I don't understand it."

...based on his past comments about the late Senator John McCain.

TRUMP: "I've always been on the opposite side of John McCain. John McCain liked wars. I will be a better warrior than anybody. But when we fight a war, we're going to win them... But I respect people, and I respect a lot of people. It doesn't mean I necessarily have to agree with him, and I didn't agree with him on a lot of things."

Areas of disagreement have also arisen between Trump and Pentagon leaders, including Trump's threats to deploy active-duty troops in response to a wave of protests against racial injustice and police brutality - a step that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both opposed.

Meanwhile, retired generals who Trump initially appointed to senior positions in his administration but later replaced, including his former chief of staff John Kelly and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have remained silent on the allegations Trump called U.S. military dead "losers."

Video Transcript

JAMES MCCONVILLE: We have differences.

- The head of the US Army defended leaders of the armed forces on Tuesday, a day after President Donald Trump accused the country's top military brass of wanting to fight endless wars to satisfy military contractors.

DONALD TRUMP: They want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.

- US Army Chief of Staff James McConville, the Army's top general, said that military leaders would only recommend sending troops into combat when it was in the interest of national security or as a last resort, adding quote, "many of these leaders have sons and daughters that serve in the military. Many of these leaders have sons and daughters who have gone to combat or may be in combat right now." McConville, who Trump appointed to his post, declined to comment directly on Trump's criticism of Pentagon leaders, saying the military should remain out of politics, especially this close to an election.

Trump's comments come after a report last week that he had called fallen US troops buried in Europe, losers, and declined to visit an American cemetery because he thought it was unimportant. Trump has denied the reports. On Monday, Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason asked Trump if he understood why some people didn't believe his denials.

DONALD TRUMP: No, I don't understand it.

- Based on his past comments about the late Senator John McCain.

DONALD TRUMP: I've always been on the opposite side of John McCain. John McCain liked wars. I will be a better warrior than anybody. But when we fight a war, we're going to win 'em. But I respect people and I respect a lot of people. That doesn't mean I necessarily have to agree with them. And I didn't agree with him on a lot of things.

- Areas of disagreement have also arisen between Trump and Pentagon leaders, including Trump's threats to deploy active duty troops in response to a wave of protests against racial injustice and police brutality, a step that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both opposed. Meanwhile, retired generals who Trump initially appointed to senior positions in his administration but later replaced, including his former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have remained silent on the allegations that Trump called the US military dead, losers.