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Trump blasts ‘losing’ McCain, says he ‘should not be talking ... to the media’

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with airline executives in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. (AP/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in an early morning tweet on Thursday after McCain criticized the recent U.S. military raid in Yemen.

"Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy," Trump tweeted. "He's been losing so long he doesn't know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in - bogged down in conflict all over the place."

"Our hero Ryan died on a winning mission ( according to General Mattis), not a "failure." Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again," he said.

Trump's attack comes after McCain told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday that the recent raids were a "failure," but later clarified his remarks. "Every military operation has objectives. And while many of the objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success," McCain said.

Military officials said the goal was to either capture or kill al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, but al-Rimi remains alive in Yemen. While officials reported that 14 al-Qaeda fighters were killed, the firefight also resulted in the death of several civilians and Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens. One of the civilians killed was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda leader killed by a U.S. drone strike under President Obama in 2011.

And while Trump condemned McCain for criticizing the mission to the media, Trump himself has a lengthy history of criticizing United States military operations to the media. Trump famously  calling the Iraq war under President George W. Bush back in 2003 "a mess." He said the same of President Barack Obama's intervention in Libya, telling Chuck Todd of NBC News in 2015, "If you look at Libya, look at what we did there– it’s a mess– if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there– it’s a mess." Trump also suggested that the United States' mission in Syria was a failure, and during the middle of combat operations in Afghanistan he repeatedly referred to the operations as a "disaster."

Trump's criticism of military operations goes back even further than the presidency of George W. Bush. Trump reportedly gave an interview to a Serbian magazine in 1999 in which he criticized the United States-led bombing campaign in the war-torn republics of the former Yugoslavia as a "mistake." He was also repeatedly critical of the 1991 invasion of Iraq, saying it was not "done right" and referring to it as a failure because Saddam Hussein was not removed. Trump was also highly critical of Reagan's military and foreign policy, so much so that he once spent $100,000 of his own money to run an advertisement in newspapers that blasted various military and foreign policy maneuvers by the former president. In fact, it is difficult to locate any military action taken by the United States since Trump's rise to public prominence in the 1980s that he did not criticize to the media as a failure.

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