The former director of the CIA Leon Panetta has said that GOP nominee Donald Trump is effectively helping enemies of America with divisive rhetoric.
Appearing on MSNBC, Panetta, CIA head under Obama from 2009 to 2011, said “In 50 years in public life, I have never experienced a major-party candidate making the accusations and raising the innuendos that Donald Trump raised, particularly at this moment of crisis.”
“He’s not only accusing the president of the United States of treason and collaborating with the enemy, but in many ways what he’s saying about restricting Muslims from coming into this country, doing surveillance on Muslim mosques, is basically aiding and abetting the enemy at a time we ought to be unifying, working with the Muslim community, to try to protect against future attacks.” Panetta, also a former Secretary of Defense, added.
Panetta, who served as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997, was referring to Trump’s citing of a story that outlines how the Obama administration oversaw programs to train Syrian rebels. The rebels were part of known al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq, and eventually splintered off to form ISIS.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
Panetta also blasted Trump for questioning whether soldiers embezzled reconstruction funds that went missing during the Iraq War.
“I’m certainly not aware of anything like that,” said Panetta.
“And, you know, it just goes to show that I think Mr. Trump will say or do anything, about anything, and say ridiculous things in order to help rouse feelings in this country, divide Americans from one another, create doubt, create suspicion, divide us at a critical time, when very frankly we ought to be coming together.” Panetta, who has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, added.
A Trump spokesperson denied that Trump was referring to US soldiers, when he made the remarks, and suggested that he was talking about Iraqi military personnel.