Trump & the Military: Is Anyone Really Surprised?

A recent article in September’s The Atlantic titled “Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’” details our current commander-in-chief’s flagrant disrespect for the men and women in our armed forces together with the generations of American service personnel who went before them. I need not repeat the insults and ignominies he heaps upon those who have served their country. You can readily find the article online and read it for yourself, if you haven’t already done so.

What amazes me is not what the article says, but the fact that so many people are only now expressing their outrage over Trump’s disrespect for the military of which he is constitutionally commander-in-chief. The storm of shock and anger at Trump’s aspersions leaves me scratching my head.

Who did we think this guy was before that article appeared?

This is the man who believes he “served in the military” because he attended a military academy for high school.

This is the man who was deferred from the draft during the Vietnam War because he was diagnosed with bone spurs by a doctor who rented office space in a building owned by Donald Trump’s father.

This is the man who claims he knows “more about ISIS than the generals do.”

This is the man who mocked Navy torpedo bomber pilot George H. W. Bush for being shot down by the Japanese during World War II.

This is the man who says of former prisoner of war John McCain, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

This is the man who proclaims, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart.”

This is the man who belittled Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Gold Star parents whose U.S. Army captain son was killed in combat in Iraq.

This is the man who told the widow of another U.S. soldier killed in an ambush in Niger that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

This is the man who pardons convicted war criminals and sanctions the sacking of a commander who is trying to protest the lives of the men and women he’s responsible for.

This is the man who accused Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman of his own National Security Council staff of being “very insubordinate” because Vindman testified honestly to the U.S. Congress about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

This is the man who declared his own Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, a 44-year veteran of multiple wars, “the most overrated general in the world.”

This is the man who said his own chief of staff, John Kelly, who served as an enlisted Marine and rose to the rank of sergeant before becoming a commissioned officer and rising to the rank of general, “couldn’t handle the pressure of the job.”

And now, all of a sudden, we’re surprised to discover that Donald Trump has no respect for the military of which he is commander-in-chief, who believes the members of our military are “suckers” and “losers,” who looks at the graves in Arlington and wonders aloud what was in it for them?

What upsets me is not so much what’s in that article, which is really nothing we didn’t already know or at least could have inferred, but rather the moral cowardice of the anonymous sources the writer based his article on. Their refusal to identify themselves, whatever excuses and rationales they may be telling themselves to justify their anonymity, only allows Trump and his Trumpsters to claim the whole story is completely fabricated. Nevermind that Trump’s entire life bespeaks the truth of that article. Without this attribution, he and his minions can claim that it’s all just idle rumors, malicious speculation, Fake News.

Indeed, one wonders if those anonymous sources are actually working for the Trump campaign. They have certainly played right into Trump’s hands. Unless those anonymous sources step forward, identify themselves, and explain how they know what they purport to know, the article merely seems to confirm, just as Trump claims, that the lying liberal media are simply out to get him.


Former Marine Corps sergeant W. D. Ehrhart never wanted to get the Purple Heart, but got one anyway in Hue City, Vietnam, during Tet 1968.

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