Retired Army four-star David Petraeus met with President-elect Donald Trump for an hour yesterday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. The general is reportedly in the running for the Secretary of State position.
“It was a good meeting,” Petraeus told reporters on his way out of the building after the meeting. “[Trump] basically walked us around the world.”
Fifteen minutes later, Trump tweeted the following:
Just met with General Petraeus–was very impressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
Petraeus became a pop culture icon and a national symbol of hope that the Iraq War effort might be salvaged when he took over CENTCOM from Adm. William Fallon, who was fired after making statements in Esquire magazine that were counter to Bush Administration policy. Petraeus quickly emerged as a skilled strategist and articulate architect of the Iraq War “surge” that stymied the rise of the insurgency and afforded the President Bush some measure of success in the face of what was increasingly being viewed by the American public as a spectacular failure.
Petraeus assumed even greater power as head of the CIA once he left the Army, but his tenure there came to a dubious end once it was revealed that he had cheated on his wife Holly — a highly respected military matriarch — and shared classified information with his mistress Paula Broadwell, who was also his biographer.
Petraeus was removed from the CIA, and FBI investigators recommended he be charged with a felony for his actions. He ultimately pled guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor. Although he could have been made to serve one year in prison, he received two years probation and a $40,000 fine.
Nominating Petraeus in the face of his documented history of mishandling sensitive information could prove problematic (and even hypocritical) for a Trump Administration since Candidate Trump repeatedly hammered Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign for her misuse of a private email server. He went so far as to state during the final debate that, if elected, he would assign a special prosecutor to reopen the case against her, an effort he has since said he would not pursue.