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Trump criticizes U.S. military for not finding Osama bin Laden sooner

"You're not even going to give them credit for taking down bin Laden?"

Donald Trump in a screengrab from a Fox News interview that aired on November 18, 2018. (Fox News/YouTube)
Donald Trump in a screengrab from a Fox News interview that aired on November 18, 2018. (Fox News/YouTube)

President Donald Trump responded to a former Navy SEAL commander by criticizing the U.S. military for not finding Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden sooner.

In a Fox News interview that aired on Sunday, Trump reacted to Chris Wallace’s question about retired Navy SEAL Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the military operations that killed bin Laden in 2011 and captured former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in 2003, by remarking, “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?”

When Wallace asked about the 37-year U.S. military veteran and former Navy SEAL who has called the president of the United States “the greatest threat to democracy,” Trump dismissed McRaven as a “Hillary Clinton fan” and “Obama backer.” He then criticized the timing of the US military operation that killed one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives.

“Frankly, wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn’t it have been nice? You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion. I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there, and we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year, and they don’t tell him?”

After Wallace incredulously asked, “You’re not even going to give them credit for taking down bin Laden?,” the president didn’t answer and pivoted to praising himself for cutting aid to Pakistan.

“They took him down, but look, look — there’s news right there — he lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

Bin Laden was killed during a late-night Navy SEAL raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. The Al-Qaeda leader was wanted for his role in planning the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and numerous other violent incidents around the world.

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President George W. Bush’s administration received — and mostly ignored — numerous warnings in the months before the 9/11 attacks.

Trump’s criticism of the U.S. military could be confusing for Fox News viewers, as this troop-themed promo runs frequently on the conservative network.