Veterans aren’t too happy about President Donald Trump’s desire to hold a military parade — including the retired Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama bin Laden.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Robert J. O’Neill, who said he fired the shots that killed Bin Laden during the 2011 raid, crafted a tweet on Thursday that made his feelings on a military parade abundantly clear. “A military parade is Third World bullshit. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation,” he wrote.
O’Neill, now a best-selling author and Fox News contributor, served almost 17 years in the Navy. He deployed more than a dozen times and received 52 honors, including two Silver Stars and four Bronze Stars with Valor.
Despite his impressive record, O’Neill faced backlash from Twitter users who said that France and Russia have military parades and aren’t “Third World.” O’Neill responded that those countries aren’t “powerful enough to take over the world,” like the U.S. That relegated them to below “First World” status.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis confirmed in the White House press briefing Thursday that the Pentagon is currently entertaining Trump’s request for a military parade like the one he saw in France on Bastille Day.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” one military official told the Washington Post.
The parade would likely cost millions of dollars, especially if it’s meant to “top” France’s parade, like Trump told reporters he wanted after witnessing the spectacle.
“The president’s respect, his fondness for the military, I think, is reflected in him asking for these options,” Mattis added in the briefing.
Cover image: Retired Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill, who says he shot and killed Osama bin Laden, poses for a portrait in Washington, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)