Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was “surprised” at the critical statements Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his aides made about the Obama administration, which sent shock waves through the Capitol on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t believe Gen. McChrystal, being the good soldier I think he is, at least in this article, not being a very good soldier,” the Nevada Democrat told reporters.
But Reid demurred when asked whether McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, should step down, a call that at least one Member, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), made in the wake of the comments that appear in a Rolling Stone magazine profile due out on Friday.
“That’s a decision for the president to make. We all recognize that,” Reid said. “It’s very important for the commander in chief to have confidence in his mainline troops, especially someone that’s in charge of the war in Afghanistan.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that McChrystal’s comments should not be a distraction to the ongoing military effort in Afghanistan.
“I hope we can keep our eye on the ball here, which is to win in Afghanistan and not get diverted off of that onto these other issues that seem to have developed,” said the Kentucky Republican, who would not comment on whether McChrystal should step down.