Trump Says Pentagon Chiefs Beholden to Weapons Manufacturers

September 7, 2020 Updated: September 8, 2020

President Donald Trump suggested on Sept. 7 that the leaders of the Department Defense are not fond of him because they are aligned with the interests of the weapons and military equipment corporations.

“I’m not saying the military is in love with me; the soldiers are,” the president said during a Labor Day speech at the White House. “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 and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

“But we’re getting out of the endless wars,” the president added.

The president made the remarks as the White House continued to deal with a media spectacle following the publication of an anonymously sourced article by The Atlantic which claimed that Trump disparaged members of the military during a trip to France. More than a dozen current and former officials who were on the trip have since come forward to deny the unverifiable claims.

Later the same day, Trump shared a number of posts featuring President Dwight Eisenhower’s final speech, which he devoted to warning the nation about the unchecked growth of the U.S. weapons industry.

“We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations,” Eisenhower said at the time.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has repeatedly emphasized that he has increased the military budget and rebuilt the U.S. armed forces. The Department of Defense is funded with $721.5 billion in taxpayer money in fiscal year 2020, up from $686.1 billion the prior year.

During the Labor Day speech, Trump celebrated the defeat of the ISIS terrorist caliphate on his watch.

“And I said, ‘That’s good. Let’s bring our soldiers back home.’ Some people don’t like to come home. Some people like to continue to spend money,” the president said. “One cold-hearted globalist betrayal after another, and that’s what it was.”

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