Last week, The Atlantic ran a story that accused President Donald Trump of habitually demeaning members of the United States military. His Democratic rivals immediately pounced, with the Biden campaign releasing several ads that made use of The Atlantic’s revelations. Notably, the story alleges that Trump called fallen American soldiers who died in World War I “suckers” and “losers.”
The White House, and the President, have vehemently denied the story.
Skeptics would point to the fact that the conversations quoted in the article are all off the record. Not a single source was named. As a result, it’s hard to even know if the story’s sources were in the room where the President used such derogatory language. Still, The Atlantic didn’t have to run a story to clarify how Trump feels about the military. For years, he has made his most contemptible opinions quite clear.
The article in question ran in The Atlantic on September 3, and drew upon a number of instances where Trump demeaned the troops. In one instance, unnamed sources close to the President claim that he wanted to avoid the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris, even though American soldiers from the First World War lay there. “Why should I go to that cemetery?” Trump supposedly asked. “It’s filled with losers.” On the same trip, he allegedly referred to the US dead as “suckers,” and postured, “who were the good guys in this war?”
Furthermore, the article reports that in 2018, when Senator John McCain died, Trump was filled with rage by the outpouring of grief for the one-time war hero. “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” he allegedly told his confidantes. And in response to seeing flags at half-staff, the President railed, “What the f**k are we doing that for? Guy was a f**king loser!”
While the article did not name any of its sources, parts of the story have since been verified by Fox News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Associated Press.
Still, the response to the article was pretty predictable. The Biden campaign seized the opportunity to criticize Trump and his failure to understand sacrifice. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, accused The Atlantic of running “fake news,” reminded voters of Trump’s support for the armed forces, and decried anyone who would say such things about the troops. Of course, Trump himself has said such things about the troops, and not just to a handful of anonymous sources.
Trump’s Honest Opinion?
In 2015, during the first leg of his presidential campaign, Trump dismissed any suggestion that John McCain, who was tortured in a Vietnam prison camp for five years, was an icon of courage. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump smirked in front of a full audience. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” To this day, he’s never recanted the statement.
And who could forget the public feud Trump ignited and maintained in 2016 against Khizr Khan, the father of fallen US Army Captain Humayun Khan? When the elder Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention, accusing Trump of sacrificing nothing in his life, Trump hit back, utilizing Islamophobic tropes that Khan’s wife was forbidden from speaking. He also added that, by creating tens of thousands of jobs and building “great structures,” he had sacrificed as much as Captain Khan.
And just this year, Trump and his ally Tucker Carlson, picked a fight with Senator Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient who lost both her legs when the helicopter she was piloting exploded in Iraq. After Carlson used his Fox News program to call Duckworth a “coward” who “hates America,” the Trump campaign doubled-down, saying that she was using “her military service to deflect from her support for the left-wing campaign to villainize America’s founding.” For her part, Duckworth regularly refers to Trump as “Cadet Bone Spurs,” a dig at the minor foot injury that Trump claimed in order to get out of military conscription during the Vietnam War.
Hail to the Chief
All of this is to say that Trump has shown contempt for the military all along. Yes, Trump brags about his big military budget, he hugs American flags to work up the crowd, he regularly proposes holding North Korean style military parades. But the rules of Trumpworld have long been that if you criticize the man in any way, you permanently lose his approval.
Which means that he does not believe in the institution of the United States military, which has long earned the nation’s respect by keeping out of politics. Rather, Trump wants only to do with those who will praise him unwaveringly. Even, heroes, like John McCain, are “losers” to Trump if they don’t also worship him.MORE ABOUT PEOPLE…