Critics were flabbergasted Monday when President Donald Trump slammed his own Pentagon leadership as warmongers.

Speaking at a White House press conference, Trump claimed that U.S. soldiers are “in love with me,” but top Pentagon officials “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.”

The unprecedented attack appeared to be a twisted response to The Atlantic’s explosive report last week that Trump has called members of the military, including fallen war heroes, “suckers” and “losers.” The president’s sudden slam may have been an attempt to suggest that disgruntled officials were behind that story.

People on Twitter pointed out that many Pentagon higher-ups were named to their jobs by Trump and that the president has boosted the defense budget three years running, reaching a record $738 billion for fiscal year 2020. The president is also the commander in chief, which makes the military his responsibility.

It was Trump who picked Mark Esper — former chief lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon ― to be the current secretary of defense.

Wait, so after insisting he'd never insult military veterans, Trump goes on live television and accuses military leaders of being warmongers?

— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) September 7, 2020

""We have purchased the finest planes, missiles, rockets, ships, and every other form of military equipment — all made in the United States of America." – Donald Trump, 2020 State of the Union address

— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) September 7, 2020

This is basically confirmation of the Atlantic’s story about Trump calling our troops suckers and losers. Trump is pissed that, he thinks, the generals leaked this to the media. So now the Pentagon’s top generals are part of the ever-growing “swamp.’

— John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️‍🌈 (@aravosis) September 7, 2020

I know you do not believe facts matter. But if you are really opposed to companies that make bombs and planes making money, why have you proposed over $140 billion MORE in defense spending than Obama, including a slush fund for endless wars.

— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) September 7, 2020

What's also notable about Trump now railing against the "military industrial complex" is that he spent most of his first term touting how much funding he got for the military for those very same planes and bombs.

— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) September 7, 2020

Trump increased the Pentagon budget, authorized record arms exports and escalated the drone wars. When Trump claims to be anti-war, media should maybe mention that bit of context??

— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) September 7, 2020

For what it’s worth, President Trump has appointed all the top level people at the Pentagon, which includes both uniformed military officers and civilian personnel

— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) September 7, 2020

Pretty unusual to see a President accusing his own appointees and senior military in the Pentagon of being war profiteers.

— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) September 7, 2020

He’s Commander-in-Chief. He’s shitting on his own military leaders and trying to divide the ranks. This is insane. — Trump accuses Pentagon leaders of wanting to 'fight wars' to make defense companies rich via ⁦@JeffSchogol

— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) September 7, 2020

The White House is aware that they don't have a bench of top military officials willing to defend the president. But denigrating them as mainly serving the military-industrial complex is quite something.

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 7, 2020 HuffPost testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today!No thanks. HuffPost Important conversations are happening now. Add your voice! Join HuffPost Today! Download Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter Join HuffPost

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