Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, sharply criticised US President Donald Trump on Sunday, calling him immoral and untruthful and taking aim at his foreign policy decisions.
In an interview on ABC News's "This Week," McChrystal told host Martha Raddatz of Trump, "I don't think he tells the truth."
The general also responded affirmatively when asked whether he believes Trump is "immoral."
McChrystal said that contrary to Trump's claim, the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS, has not yet been defeated.
"I don't believe ISIS is defeated. I think ISIS is as much an idea as it is a number of ISIS fighters. There's a lot of intelligence that says there are actually more ISIS fighters around the world now than there were a couple of years ago," he said.
The president tweeted this month that "we have defeated ISIS in Syria" and abruptly announced plans to withdraw all US forces from that country, against the counsel of his top advisers.
The decision - along with Trump's directive days later to withdraw nearly half of the more than 14,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan - prompted the resignation of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.
McChrystal, who recently co-authored a book on leadership, on Sunday praised Mattis as "selfless" and "committed" and said his departure should give Americans pause.
He also decried Trump's decision on Afghanistan, saying it effectively traded away US leverage against the Taliban and "rocked (the Afghan people) in their belief that we are allies that can be counted on".
McChrystal has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump.
Last month, when the president pushed back against criticism from retired Admiral William McRaven by saying the decorated Navy SEAL and Special Operations commander should have caught Osama bin Laden more quickly, McChrystal rallied to McRaven's defence, saying there has to be a "confidence" in the "basic core values" of the country's leaders.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, one of Trump's closest allies on Capitol Hill, said Sunday that he was having lunch with the president and would try to get him to reconsider his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
"I'm asking the president to make sure we have troops there to protect us," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union."
John Kelly paints dim portrait of Trump
Washington Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake writes:
A few months ago, a senior Trump administration official wrote a controversial anonymous op-ed in the New York Times that said forces within the administration were working to rein in President Donald Trump's potentially damaging whims.
In a recent interview, Trump's departing chief of staff basically confirmed that's exactly what has happened for the past two years.
A Los Angeles Times interview with John Kelly published Sunday says:
"In the phone interview Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side."
Kelly admits he wasn't consulted much before Trump, shortly after he was inaugurated, banned travel from several majority-Muslim nations. At the time, Kelly was the secretary of homeland security - the department in charge of instituting the ban that turned chaotic.
"I had very little opportunity to look at" the orders before they were issued, Kelly said.
"Obviously, it brought down a greater deal of thunder on the president."
Kelly suggested he and others stopped Trump from withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. (A partial pullout from Afghanistan appears likely following a decision by the president this month, though senior US military officers have said they have received no orders.)
"When I first took over, he was inclined to want to withdraw from Afghanistan," Kelly said, adding: "He was frustrated. It was a huge decision to make ... and frankly there was no system at all for a lot of reasons - palace intrigue and the rest of it - when I got there."
Kelly also defended those serving Trump as delivering him the right information, even if it might be disregarded.
"It's never been: The president just wants to make a decision based on no knowledge and ignorance," Kelly said.
"You may not like his decision, but at least he was fully informed on the impact."
Kelly also distanced himself from the separation of families at the US-Mexico border, blaming then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a zero-tolerance border policy that resulted in the separations - a policy marked by the deaths of two children who were in US custody.
As with the travel ban, Kelly suggests he was blindsided.
"What happened was Jeff Sessions - he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation," Kelly said.
"He surprised us."
All of these are the comments of a man who knows his legacy will be tied to Trump - and who perhaps isn't entirely comfortable with that. The Times asked him about exactly that in its ending:
"Asked why he stayed 18 months in the White House, despite policy differences, personality clashes, the punishing schedule, and a likely lasting association with some of Trump's controversies, he said simply: duty.
"'Military people,' he said, 'don't walk away.'"