A retired Air Force fighter pilot who lobbied to join President Trump’s most senior national security team under Barack Obama said he was left under-supported, with no role in planning combat operations during a NATO summit.
In a blistering speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, Calif., Stephen Mull, the career soldier who declined a spot on Trump’s National Security Council and went on to become a vocal critic of the White House and Trump’s policies, laid out an unsparing critique of the Trump administration.
“The reality is that we ended up with a number of things that went wrong in the national security area,” Mull said. “At the top of that list was, this was a failure. You got the letter that landed in my mailbox saying, this was a failure.”
At the heart of his critique was Trump’s treatment of military advisers and men and women who serve in the military.
“And the way that happened, the message that came from the White House … it was just not all that helpful in light of the historical record,” Mull said. “I mean, having served in the military, we’ve had presidents who we disagreed with that never changed their tune when they came into the Oval Office. But they got around to it, or they came around to it, they started to change, but they never did.”
Mr. Trump often appears to have a personal dislike for anyone who would challenge his authority, and even former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine general, alienated many top generals in the administration.
Mull served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received a Purple Heart, and later on the National Security Council, where he pushed to give the armed forces more power in the planning and execution of combat operations.
Over the past year, he has written a series of letters to the president, one of which was published in The New York Times. His latest speech at the forum drew on that theme.
“You had to have considered me for the NSC,” he said, referring to Trump’s most high-profile national security post. “I had put in over 400 hours of experience, and as a pilot I had two combat deployments in two years.”
Two months before Mr. Trump won the 2016 election, Mull donated to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign and criticized Mr. Trump on the door of his campaign office, according to The Washington Post.