Trump says troops love him even if Pentagon brass doesn't

"I'm not saying the military is in love with me, the soldiers are", Trump said at a Labor Day press conference.

On Tuesday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, the Army's most senior officer, defended military leaders, saying that the brass takes the decision to send troops to war "very seriously". "The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs & make the planes & make everything else stay happy", he said at another White House briefing replete with controversial claims and stances. With the exception of former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who told Trump that the trip had been cancelled because of weather and security concerns, every individual who was reportedly in meetings with Trump about the trip has denied on the record The Atlantic's anonymous account. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war, the president said, "I've always been on the opposite side of John McCain".

Kelly was also present for key moments in the Atlantic report, which said Trump couldn't understand why American service members risked and lost their lives in combat, while visiting the Arlington National Cemetery gravesite of Kelly's son, who died in Afghanistan.

"Some people don't like to come home, some people like to continue to spend money", Trump continued.

He went on to say there was "one cold-hearted globalist betrayal after another", championing the withdrawal of American troops from "endless wars" and condemning North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for "ripping us off".

Trump later on Monday shared tweets defending the remarks and comparing himself to former President Dwight Eisenhower, who, in a famous 1961 speech marking the end of his time in office, warned Americans about the rising power of the "military industrial complex".

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"I know they're [Senators] talking about different kinds of sanctions, but they're [Saudi Arabia] spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs, like jobs and others for this country".

"President Trump has the highest respect and admiration for our nation's military members, veterans and families", Esper said in a statement.

President Donald Trump rejects reports that he had mocked fallen U.S. soldiers, in a Labor Day news conference.

Trump's remarks Monday followed an explosive report last week from The Atlantic that said the president spoke disparagingly about U.S. service members who died in battle, those who were captured and held as prisoners of war, or who suffered injuries in combat.

"I don't get it. Only an animal would say a thing like that", Trump later said of the Atlantic comments attributed to him. As a result of an unprecedented agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan reached in February, the US military has begun to draw down from more than 14,000 troops at the beginning of the year in that country to reach about 5,000 in the coming months, Pentagon officials have said. Trump said last month that he intends to begin removing some troops from Iraq - where some 5,200 remain - in the near future, but Pentagon officials have not confirmed such plans. "You know how we're doing", Trump said, days after allegations that he had mocked fallen soldiers.

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