A former U.S. defense secretary has spoken out against President Trump's recent use of the phrase, "my military."
Leon Panetta, who served under President Obama, told MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday, "When it comes to the military, the military belongs to the country. Our defense system belongs to the country. And it's not the president's military, it's the military of the United States of America."
Panetta added about Trump, "He has responsibility obviously, as commander in chief, to be able to make decisions with regards to our military. But I think if you ask the men and women in uniform who they are responsible to, I think their answer would be, 'We're responsible to the United States of America.'"
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Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta waits for the start of the third and final debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta discusses his new book 'Worthy Fights' at George Washington University in Washington October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY MEDIA)
A display of the new memoir 'Worthy Fights' by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta sits on a table outside the auditorium where he was discussing the book at George Washington University in Washington October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY MEDIA)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (L) greets Jordan's Ambassador to Belgium Montaser Oklah Al Zoubi before a NATO Defense Ministers meeting with non-NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) contributing nations at NATO headquarters in Brussels February 22, 2013. Panetta is attending meetings and holding bilateral meetings with other NATO defense officials. REUTERS/Chip Somodevilla/Pool (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (L) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand during a national anthem at an award ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, February 14, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) embraces outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) before the State of the Union address by U.S. President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute to Panetta at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Washington February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) poses for a photograph with Leon Panetta, the U.S. Secretary of State for Defence, before a meeting at 10 Downing Street, in central London January 18, 2013. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS)
President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (L) sits with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) for their meeting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) stands between current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) and Obama's nominee for that position, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (L), at the White House in Washington January 7, 2013. Obama announced the nominations of Hagel as his next defense secretary and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as the new CIA director. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (L-R) stands with U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser and U.S. Marine General John F. Kelly during a change of command ceremony at United States Southern Command in Doral, Florida, November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Rhona Wise (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (R) greets Cambodian military officials after arriving for the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Retreat at Siem Reap Airport November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool (CAMBODIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walk to a reception at the Indiana Teahouse at Cottesloe Beach, near Perth November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Rourke/Pool (AUSTRALIA - Tags: POLITICS)
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (L-R) hold a news conference following meetings as part of the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN) at the State Reception Centre in Kings Park in Perth November 14, 2012. Clinton on Wednesday called the formation of a new opposition coalition in Syria an important step that would help Washington better target its help, but she stopped sort of offering full recognition or arms. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool (AUSTRALIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
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The president made the controversial comment during a press conference Thursday when a reporter asked if he had authorized a recent attack on Afghanistan using an explosive called "the mother of all bombs."
According to the New York Times, the weapon is the U.S. military's "most powerful conventional bomb."
Trump responded by saying, "What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world, and they've done a job as usual. So we have given them total authorization and that's what they're doing and frankly, that's why they've been so successful lately."
At least three dozen ISIS-linked militants are believed to have been killed in the attack, but an assessment of the full damage is still reportedly underway.