Donald J Trump boasts of many things. His boasts are too plentiful to examine here, but try I must. In the next few posts, I will offer a closer look at some of them. Today, I will look at his faux admiration of those who have served our country, our veterans, living and deceased, and our service men and women still in uniform.
Trump claims to “love our vets.” He makes this claim as often as he can, whenever in range of a camera or microphone. As a veteran, my reaction is, “Yeah, right. Blow it out your, well, you know…” What follows are some of the many reasons I feel this way.
First, he simply doesn’t have a clue what service is, what it means. As an example, he believes the risks he took by willingly engaging in promiscuous sex is the equivalent of the danger, the horror, the tragedy and sadness faced by those actually thrust into harm’s way, those defending his freedom to sleep around. How do I know? Because he said so. When asked if he had ever contracted a venereal disease, he responded:
“It is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of like, you know, Vietnam…it is my personal Vietnam…I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”
A ‘great and very brave soldier’? Seriously? Perhaps he feels slighted that he was not awarded the National Defense Service Medal or, more [in]appropriately, the Vietnam Service Medal. He might even believe that, given his bravery in the face of a barrage of STDs, he should be awarded a higher medal, maybe even a Bronze Star. To Trump’s credit, he did clarify his dismissive analogy.
“This is better than Vietnam. It’s more fun.”
I don’t know many Vietnam veterans (or Korean, or WWII, or IA vets, any combat veterans for that matter), who describe their combat experience as fun. Does anyone still think that Trump ‘gets it!”?
I would suggest to Mr. Trump that he, “pick up a weapon! Else, don a condom, Donald! Else, just shut the hell up!”
Second, he doesn’t have the first idea what sacrifice means. During the DNC, Khizr Khan, the father of Captain Humayun Khan, KIA, 8 June, 2004, Iraqi Theater, said of Donald Trump, he had, “sacrificed nothing and no one.” Trump immediately reacted by criticizing this Gold Star family. In an interview following his disparagement of the Khans, he was asked about his own service to America. He gave the following answer:
“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard,”
Third, Trump neither knows nor cares what combat veterans have suffered and many continue to suffer, mentally or physically. He does not get, cannot grasp the pain of the visible and invisible scars combat veterans carry. Once again, you may ask, how do I know. Allow me to permit Mr. Trump to answer for himself.
When addressing a crowd comprised of mostly veterans, Trump said, “When people come back from war and combat, they see things that maybe a lot of folks in this room have seen many times over. And you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” It’s clear to me that Mr. Trump ‘can’t handle it.’ The proof lies with his five draft deferments.
Fourth, Trump belittles the service and sacrifice veterans make. Once again, I’ll allow Mr. Trump to speak for himself.
The least desired visible recognition of service is the Purple Heart. For those unfamiliar, I will explain why. Most soldiers pray, in whatever way they pray, never to receive this award. It comes at a very dear price. The Purple Heart is only awarded to those:
"Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces."
Given the very special nature of this award, neither the award nor its recipients should be trivialized. Yet, that is precisely what Mr. Trump did. When offered a Purple Heart by a veteran, he said,
“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump told the crowd, holding it up to show them. “This was much easier.”
This man, this coward who made every effort to avoid service, ‘always wanted’ one. Then, once again I suggest, "pick up a weapon." He is, I guess, smart enough to understand getting one as a gift is ‘much easier.’
Finally, still lacking any comprehension of what it means to truly serve, he belittled a war hero, Senator John McCain, and demeaned his service. Mr. Trump, who avoided serving our country, felt it necessary to make light of Senator McCain’s service. Let me enlighten those who are unaware of McCain's service, his bravery and his sacrifice.
A graduate of the Naval Academy, John McCain volunteered for combat duty. He flew 23 carrier-based low-altitude bombing missions against North Vietnam. On 26 October, 1967, his plane was shot down. He broke both arms and one leg in the crash. McCain was moved to the infamous POW compound, nicknamed the 'Hanoi Hilton.' Because he was the son of a high-ranking officer, the North Vietnamese repeatedly offered to let him go free, but he refused. If you remember nothing else, remember that. As a result of his refusal to accept the enemy’s offer, McCain spent five years, one-hundred fifty-two days in POW camps. Over half of this time was spent in solitary confinement. He was frequently subjected to torture before being released.
Here’s what our would be hero, Donald J Trump, had to say about Senator McCain’s service, his bravery in combat, his unmatched courage and selflessness in refusing release.
“[McCain’s] a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people who aren’t captured.”
I wonder what he thought of General Jonathan Wainright, who surrendered his command to the Japanese following the battle for Corregidor. What did he think of the thousands of men who survived the Bataan Death March. What did he think of those who didn't survive their captivity? I guess he didn’t think much of those men either.
Here’s what President Roosevelt thought.
“In spite of all the handicaps of complete isolation, lack of food and ammunition you have given the world a shining example of patriotic fortitude and self-sacrifice. The American people ask no finer example of tenacity, resourcefulness, and steadfast courage.”
Mr. Trump, that's what you say to, what you say about, men and women who wore the uniform, who have sacrificed so that you can enjoy your penthouse suites, your freedom to make inane disparaging comments about your betters.
Trump would have you believe he has served his country, honorably. He has claimed that he “always felt like [he] was in the military” because he went to a boarding school that gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”
His supporters defend his remarks, saying others “took Mr. Trump’s words out of context.” There’s no mistake. Trump believes he is worthy of admiration. What he is worthy of is utter disdain.
Just yesterday, Trump opined that “I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with them" (Sen. McCain, a war hero, and Paul Ryan). In truth, Donald, no one would want to be in a foxhole with you.
Coming soon, I use acupuncture to poke holes in Trump's boast of his business acumen.
For now, I'm off to enjoy a V-Agua cocktail!