Yesterday I posted an article from The Atlantic and a video from The Lincoln Project on Facebook. Both made allegations of comments that President Trump has made concerning the military. I knew who would instantly comment that the story was total BS or #fakenews. Here is the deal. I grew up in West Virginia. In the 1980s, everyone I knew was a Democrat. At that time, a West-Virginia Democrat was blue-collar, predominantly white, anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Union, and pro-coal. This group also had conservative views on race, gender, and national security. I would call them Reagan-Democrats, except Carter, won WV in 1980. By 2008, the Democratic Party’s purity test, or perceived purity test, threw most West Virginians out of the Party. In 2016, when President Trump was running against Secretary Clinton, and she made comments about bankrupting coal mines, I knew the writing was on the wall. When I state I understand why someone would have voted for President Trump, I really do.
I escaped that small town in 1986 and spent the next thirty years serving in the military. When the article came out about President Trump, it did not surprise me at all. This seems to be well within his character. What surprised me was the deep feeling of anger generated by his words. The President has used many words that offended me over these years. Words I would never use in front of my daughters or mother. However, this time, the anger was different. The words are the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I am sure that most of my fellow brothers and sisters in arms feel the same way. I am not dismissing those of my brethren in uniform that do not agree, and I expect you will see a few flame me in the comments.
What is my assessment of the article? First, let me be clear. I did not need the article to tell me the President is a shitbag. I already knew that. In the early days of his presidency, he said the military from which I recently retired was in terrible shape. He said we do not fight to win anymore. I listened as he degraded Senator McCain, stating that he was a loser because he did not win a Presidential race, and he is not a hero because he was captured. He ordered a raid in Yemen while eating dinner, basically because Obama did not do so. When a Navy seal was killed during the raid, the buck did not stop with him. He denied any responsibility and stated that the Generals were at fault. I reflected on the words of a widow of a Special Forces Sergeant who lost his life in Niger. Rather than bring her any comfort during a horrific time, the President’s “condolence” call was anything but supportive since the President stated that her husband “knew what he was getting into.” When Iran attacked a military outpost, the President equated headache with traumatic brain injury and brushed off the dozen soldiers who were medevac’d because of their injuries. We, as a military, have struggled with TBI and PTSD and the President just minimized that effort. He stated that those without PTSD are strong and those with it are weak.
When faced with evidence that the head of a foreign government was paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers, the President sided with the ex-KGB leader of Russia. When reports of the bounty on the heads of American Soldiers reached the news, he lied and said he knew nothing. Military men and women are great as props for a photo op but calling out a world leader for encouraging such violence is beyond him. I lay my head in shame when he honors Robert E Lee and belittles General Mattis, McCrystal, Allen, Kelly, and Admiral McRaven. Just to finish it off, he goes after my profession and states that if we were to go to war, the strategist he would rather have is a football coach, Bill Belichick. Of course, President Trump’s depth chart for military leaders is rather meager. Maybe Belichick is the only option he has left.
The thing about President Trump, I know his kind. I have dealt with them over the three decades of my military service. All of my brothers and sisters in arms have met his type. They come up to you, and thank you for your service (translation: Sucker, I am glad it was you, not me). Then they ask why you could not you get into a university. (translation: were you too dumb or too poor?) These people mean no harm and do not even see their bias. The number of times that I have had someone compliment my intelligence in the first sentence and denigrate my profession in the second is too numerous to count. There are those that say, “well I would have gone in but I have…” pick the ailment, bone spurs come to mind, and act as if they would have served if physically able. The funny thing is that this “I would have if only” is typically followed up by some discussion about firearms, as if this is something we have in common. They looked surprised when I drop that I do not enjoy the sport of hunting, I love animals, and I consider firearms just a tool and not a passion.
When it comes to the article, I did not go out, and fact check all the allegations. There was not even one that is outside of his character. How many times has he tweeted about some loser? With his narcissism and orangish colored hair, does anyone question he canceled a visit a US war grave because he was worried the rain would flatten his hair? The statement that the cemetery was just full of losers? I can see it, but that one he might not have said. “Who were the good guys in this war? Why would the US intervene on the side of the Allies?” These statements are absolutely in his wheelhouse. No doubt in my mind. I can even see his stating that Vietnam vets, those who were actually in-country, are losers because they were not as cunning as he was in staying out of that war.
I am sure over the next 48 hours, President Trump will continue to deny, deny, deny, and make counter-accusations. His supports will throw up an FOIA report showing that Marine One was grounded due to weather, thus he could not fly. Funny, other countries seemed to find a way to get their leaders to the cemetery. I chuckled as I type that sentence. The difference is those countries have leaders. We do not.