- Retired Adm. William McRaven wrote in op-ed Monday saying that while he supports certain conservative ideals, he also believes in ideas like "Black lives matter."
- He wrote that he voted for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden because "we need a president for all Americans, not just half of America."
- During the Trump administration, McRaven has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, who he has accused of harming American values and tearing down US institutions.
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Retired Adm. William McRaven, a former US Navy SEAL commander and former head of US Special Operations Command, said he voted for Democratic candidate Joe Biden in an opinion column published in The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
McRaven, who described himself in the op-ed as a "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative," said the US was no longer a country that sets an example of democracy and that "we need a president for all Americans, not just half of America."
While McRaven aligned himself with some conservative ideals, he added that "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."
McRaven, who like some other military leaders is outspoken on the importance of international alliances, stressed that the US's influence has been on the decline.
"Now, the world no longer looks up to America," McRaven wrote. "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."
"They have seen our incompetence in handling the pandemic and the wildfires," McRaven added, referring to the country's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the record-breaking 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."
McRaven, who did not specifically name President Donald Trump, ended the op-ed by saying "I voted for Joe Biden."
McRaven has been a vocal critic of the president. He has given interviews and written a number of opinion columns expressing great frustration with the policies and practices of Trump and his administration, everything from the president's hostile responses to critics to his targeting of long-standing US institutions.
In 2017, he characterized Trump's repeated criticisms of the media as "the greatest threat to democracy" in his lifetime. The following year, he said that Trump has "embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage, and, worst of all, divided us as a nation." In 2019, he wrote an article that said "our republic is under attack from the president," arguing that Trump was harming the "nation's principles."
This year, McRaven sharply criticized the forceful clearing of Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, by law enforcement for a presidential photo-op at a church, saying there was "nothing morally right" about what happened. He also called out Trump for his repeated attacks on the US Postal Service, arguing that Trump is not only undermining USPS, but undermining every major US institution.
The retired Navy SEAL held numerous leadership positions within the special-operations community during his nearly four decades in the service, including overseeing the successful military raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. Trump previously criticized McRaven for his handling of the bin Laden raid, saying it would have been nice to get him sooner.
After retiring from the Navy in 2014, McRaven went into academia and has written bestselling books on leadership, including "Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World" and "Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations."
On the subject of leadership, McRaven wrote in Monday's op-ed that "if we remain indifferent to our role in the world, if we retreat from our obligation to our citizens and our allies and if we fail to choose the right leader, then we will pay the highest price for our neglect and shortsightedness."
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