Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may be blunt and isn't always tactful, but those qualities are part of his appeal to American voters, a retired army lieutenant general said.
Americans are "fed up with all the bulls--- they've heard for many years," retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told Germany's Der Spiegel news magazine.
Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Military Intelligence Board, retired in 2014 after more than three decades of military service and now serves as Trump's primary foreign policy advisor.
Flynn attributes Trump's rise to widespread dissatisfaction with American politicians, the status quo in Washington, and the perception that lawmakers are beholden to special interests and donors, not their constituents. Trump has campaigned as an outsider, and has sought to turn his lack of political experience into an asset as he promises to change the way Washington operates.
While the businessman's rhetoric rubs many the wrong way and has caused backlash, Flynn said Trump "will never give up his style" of addressing critics and the American people.
"They want the truth, they want to believe what their leaders are saying again," the lieutenant general said of the American electorate.
The Der Spiegel interview, published on July 15, touched on issues like nuclear proliferation, how alliances might be reshaped under a Trump administration, and Trump's comments about German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The interviewer pressed Flynn on Trump's criticism of Merkel, saying the chancellor was "offended" by the real estate mogul's blunt assessment of how Europe has handled the refugee crisis.
"If she was offended by it, she was offended by it," Flynn replied. "That's the business. But the point was the really incredibly poor decisions when it comes to allowing this unbelievable, unprecedented refugee crisis that's going on in Europe."
The retired lieutenant general was also sharply critical of the previous two administrations, saying former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama were both guilty of making "incredibly stupid decisions" involving the war in Iraq and American intervention in countries like Libya.