PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — John Allen, the retired four-star Marine general and former commander of American forces in Afghanistan who has largely stayed out of politics, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night to deliver a rousing endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
His speech, which stressed US military power and a robust armed forces, was interrupted repeatedly by cheers of “No more war!” from the packed convention hall.
Chants of “USA! USA!” quickly sprung up to drown out a small anti-war crowd, but the display highlighted the split in the Democratic Party on issues of military intervention and national security. While Clinton is looking to bolster her commander-in-chief credentials with the support of a respected general, she also faces a progressive Democratic wing — many of whom supported her primary opponent Bernie Sanders — that considers her too hawkish.
But Allen’s drill sergeant delivery, impassioned defense of the US and the need to defeat ISIS seemed to ultimately carry the day in the hall.
“To our allies and to our friends and partners, listen closely, we are with you, America will not abandon you,” Allen said. “To those acting against peace, acting against civilization and world order, we will oppose you. And to our enemies, to our enemies, we will pursue you as only America can. You will fear us.
And to ISIS and others, we will defeat you!”
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele tweeted, “Enjoying this Republican Convention with a 4 Star General commanding the stage and chants of “USA, USA.”
Allen also gave a strong plea for support for Clinton based on his work with her while she was secretary of state.
“My fellow Americans, I tell you without hesitation or reservation that Hillary Clinton will be exactly, exactly the kind of commander-in-chief America needs. I know this because I served with her,” Allen said.
The GOP has criticized Democrats this week for not sufficiently emphasizing the need to battle terrorism. Allen, however, concluded with the declaration that “America will defeat ISIS! And protect the homeland!”
It sparked another round of loud cheers from many Democrats but also renewed chants of “No more war!”
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