ABC News This Week host Martha Raddatz had a sit-down with the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. C.Q. Brown. What was a biographical get-to-know-you interview mixed with talk about current events in the Middle East was marred by an unnecessary dive into politics.
Watch as Brown steers away from Raddatz’ attempt to get him to attack former President Donald Trump:
MARTHA RADDATZ: Before taking the chairmanship (of the Joint Chiefs), Brown served as Chief of Staff of the Air Force, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served under former Chairman General Mark Milley, and former President Donald Trump.
General Milley had a very rough go with Donald Trump, starting with that photo opportunity that he said was a huge mistake. The former president has since called him a traitor saying, in the past the punishment would have been death. When you hear things like that, what do you think?
GEN. C.Q. BROWN: I don’t listen to it. I’m focused on doing my job, and when I focus on the aspect of doing my job, it’s ensuring that we have a ready joint force.
RADDATZ: What did you learn from General Milley about working under Donald Trump that would be of value if he is elected again?
BROWN: What I’ll tell you is, I’ve had a chance to talk to each one of my successors(sic). I’ve taken all that information to make myself a better leader in how I provide advice. And I’m going to learn from my predecessors and the experiences they’ve had, from all of them, and then be able to operate in support of whoever the president may be.
RADDATZ: So you wouldn’t have concerns about working under a president who thinks the election was stolen?
BROWN: I’m going to work for the- whatever president gets elected.
As Raddatz noted earlier in the interview, Brown walks into the chairmanship with the Middle East on fire, between the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Iranian proxy attacks against both shipping in the Red Sea and against U.S. forces stationed in Iraq and Syria. It was wholly appropriate to discuss these things with Brown, given that they are within his purview as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
And it is then that Raddatz tries to bait Gen. Brown into some “defense of democracy” denunciation of Trump. It bears noting that about two hours after the interview aired, we learned the news of the Iranian proxy drone attack on a U.S. forward base in the Middle East, which killed 3 servicemembers and left dozens more injured.
The question comes at a time when we desperately need to depoliticize our armed forces and restore readiness. Whole branches are missing recruitment goals because of the myriad of problems affecting our armed forces. In fact, the Navy recently issued a directive waiving the requirement of a high school diploma or G.E.D. so long as potential recruits can score a 50 or better on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
Gen. Brown wisely resists Raddatz’ two passes at criticism of Trump, his once and perhaps future Commander in Chief.
The interview goes back to biography, specifically, his personal handling of the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, and ends with a hopeful quote:
GEN. BROWN: I- I think everybody wants to have a fair shot. I don’t want to be disadvantaged or advantaged based on my background. You know, I want to be judged based on my own accomplishments, based on my merits, and given an opportunity. That’s all I’ve asked for throughout my- you know, growing up. That’s what I’ve asked for throughout my Air Force career, and hopefully, you know, I’m sitting in this chair as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs because- not because I’m African American, because I’m a quality officer, and that’s what I want to be judged on.
Refreshing words in the wake of the woke mind virus spreading throughout our armed forces- the idea of merit trumping identity. For readiness’ sake, we hope they ring true.