President Donald Trump on Sunday said he “strongly” disagreed with a statement by Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett that the fault of a “faultless transmission” could have been avoided if a “much better” radio system had been installed.
The remarks came after Doggettt, who represents the Texas 7th District in the House, criticized the Trump administration for its decision to halt the transmission of National Guard and National Guard-led exercises and to send the Guard to Kuwait and Qatar for the first time in six years.
Trump told reporters that he would “absolutely” reinstate the exercises in the event of a cyberattack.
“I think it’s a disgrace, frankly,” Trump said.
“You know, it’s disgraceful that you have people in the military that are making decisions that they know are going to cost them lives, and I think that is a shame.”
Doggetts remarks came as Trump and his aides repeatedly insisted that the administration was committed to the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure.
The president also defended his decision to lift a moratorium on the U.S. military deploying to Iraq, arguing that it would not be a good idea to “put our people and our troops in harm’s way” by risking their lives.
“If we don’t put them in harm, then we shouldn’t send them there,” Trump told Fox News.
“And we don’s put them there.
And that’s why I think we’re putting them in there.”
“I mean, if we don´t put them,” Trump added, “then we should send them to the United Nations.”
Doggets remarks come as the administration has taken steps to ease restrictions on the use of the National Guard for the drill.
In the days after Trump was inaugurated, the Pentagon announced plans to increase the number of Guard members in the country’s military.
But a report from the Army Times in January found that the Guard had not increased the number or strength of its troops since 2006, when the Pentagon halted deployment to Iraq in response to the war in Iraq.
Trump’s spokesman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defended the administration’s decision, saying that “we’re very proud of what we’ve done in the last several years.”
Trump’s comments came after Trump tweeted that he was “grateful” to his Democratic counterpart on Monday, Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
Duckworth, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018, told CNN on Sunday that she was “deeply grateful” for Trump’s support during the hurricanes.
“He was there for us during the devastation, and he was very helpful,” Duckworth said.
In a statement, Duckworth added: “I am grateful for the president and his administration’s leadership on this matter, and for the bipartisan cooperation that led to this historic agreement.”
Duckworth was referring to Trump’s endorsement of an executive order that eased restrictions on use of federal aid to hurricane-ravaged Texas and other states following Hurricane Harvey in September.
Trump also said during a press conference on Saturday that he had spoken with Duckworth on the phone on Sunday and asked her “for the full support of my administration in this matter.”