Trump Says Dunford Played a Role in His Decision to Run for President

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John Mack, left; Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., second left; and Steven Wallace, right, the co-founder of Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF), award Donald J. Trump during the MC-LEF 20th Annual Semper Fidelis Gala in New York City on April 22, 2015. Trump was a recipient of the Commandant's Leadership award at the event. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Gabriela Garcia)
John Mack, left; Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., second left; and Steven Wallace, right, the co-founder of Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF), award Donald J. Trump during the MC-LEF 20th Annual Semper Fidelis Gala in New York City on April 22, 2015. Trump was a recipient of the Commandant's Leadership award at the event. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Gabriela Garcia)

President Donald Trump said Monday that retiring Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford was an influence on his decision to run for the White House.

At the swearing-in ceremony for incoming chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley, Trump recalled a Marine Corps event in 2015 at which he was receiving an award and sat at a table with Dunford.

Trump was apparently referring to a 2015 dinner of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides educational assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers, at which Trump and others received awards.

At the dinner, Trump said he was "asking Joe lots of questions about the military" and, during the course of that conversation, said he was mulling running for president.

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Trump said he told Dunford: "I don't know. What do you think? Should I give it a shot?"

He didn't say whether Dunford encouraged him, but added that "he helped me form an opinion, he gave me lots of information" on the workings of the military and the duties of the commander-in-chief.

Trump went on to lavish praise on Dunford's career in service. "He's like central casting" in the role of a general, he said of Dunford.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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