WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said during a televised candidate's forum Wednesday night that America's generals have been 'reduced to rubble' because of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, the democratic presidential candidate and Trump spoke during NBC's Commander-in Chief Forum.
Trump said he would fire some of the generals if he wins the presidency in November.
Tony Tata, a retired brigadier general, said Friday that he doesn't take Trump's comments as a criticism of the military, rather a criticism of President Obama and Hillary Clinton's handling of military affairs and foreign policy.
"When you look back in 2009, two generals, (Stanley) McChrystal and (David) Petraeus asked for 40,000 troops for Afghanistan," Tata said. "President Obama and then Senator Hillary Clinton did not agree with that and it was reduced significantly and now we're left with this lingering problem in Afghanistan."
Tata went on to site a request from the chairman of the joint chiefs to train more soldiers in Syria that was denied.
"I really think its more this disrespect toward the senior officers that Mr. Trump is highlighting," Tata added.
During the forum, NBC's Matt Lauer talked with both candidates about their plans to defeat ISIS. Trump said he has a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State but would not reveal it publicly.
Tata supported Trump's position.
"Back in World War II or Vietnam, if we ever advertised we were getting ready to attack somewhere that was considered treason. I don't like to advertise that we're getting ready to attack somewhere because I've worked with thousands of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that are involved in these conflicts, so to me I think candidate Trump is trying to lay out a broader vision and he will pull together a team," Tata stated.
Tata is not officially affiliated with either political party but says he is a conservative.
He would not commit to who he's voting for in November, but said that he once had tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. The email debacle, however, has been damaging.
"This email scandal has really made me take a step back and analyze that having a private server is wholly improper if not illegal, and so for me, I lost great confidence in her," Tata said.
Tata was appointed North Carolina's Secretary of Transportation in 2013 by Governor Pat McCrory but resigned in 2015.
He currently resides in Wilmington and is the author of several novels that focus on military life.