At what point do they stop covering for him? How far are they willing to go, and how many of their previously held “values” are they willing to reverse course on, in order to defend their god-president?
Of course, I’m talking about the People’s Temple of Trump, and the Republican Party, in general, as they fall all over themselves in denial over the latest Trump controversy.
On Thursday, The Atlantic released a damning article by Jeffrey Goldberg. In the article, Goldberg reports that various sources from inside the Trump administration have heard the gilded toad make insulting remarks, in regards to our nation’s military. More specifically, he has attacked our nation’s wounded and war dead.
Given what we know he’s said about deceased Senator John McCain, a Vietnam vet and prisoner of war, no one should be overly surprised, or remotely skeptical. Still, there are those so worshipful of the [false] image of Trump as a real American hero that they will not be swayed, no matter what is reported. It is more likely that they will adopt Trump’s views as their own, if you an get them to listen and believe, at all.
So what does the story from The Atlantic say?
It begins by explaining Trump’s canceled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018. He claimed, at that time, that it was because of the rain and the helicopter’s inability to fly in it, as well as a Secret Service team that refused to drive him there.
Goldberg notes four sources confirmed that while it was because of the rain, it was mainly because the president didn’t want his infamous coif to be disturbed by the weather. Further, those sources noted:
In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.
Did he say this, or is it a twisting of what was said? Let’s continue on, for now, keeping in mind that even if it was only because of his hair, that’s still a shallow, disgusting reason for dishonoring [by ignoring] our war dead.
Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.
Trump has no respect for the ultimate sacrifice, often given by much better men, in service to their nation. He’s a man who has never sacrificed, never given of himself, so it’s no wonder this is such a mystery to him.
I go back to his statements about Senator John McCain, a man whose politics I often dumped on, as he was the squishiest of squishy “moderates.” That being said, he, like Mitt Romney, always proved to be a man of good character, and I can respect that, even if I don’t like their centrist views.
McCain never backed down from Trump, and he never jumped aboard the Trump Train, for the sake of partisan politics. Trump was awful to him, and it didn’t stop when he died.
When McCain died, in August 2018, Trump told his senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge of this event, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. “What the f**k are we doing that for? Guy was a f**king loser,” the president told aides. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral.
Gee, I wonder why not?
And it’s not just McCain.
Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved since he became president. According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.)
George H.W. Bush was another less-than-perfectly-conservative politician, but by pretty much every account, a decent human being. This is a concept so far removed from who Trump is, it’s no wonder he’s struggling with those issues of heroism and decency.
Let me insert here that for whatever you think of John McCain, or the Bush family, they were not, and are not cowards.
McCain, as noted, was a Vietnam POW. Both the senior Bush and his son, former President George W. Bush served in our military. They put themselves out there. What about Trump?
No sacrifice for country from Trump. He had his rich daddy pay doctors to give him five deferments from serving, due to alleged “bone spurs.” He joked that his Vietnam was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases.
Oddly enough, there are some accounts out there that Trump was actually a pretty decent baseball player in his youth. From this, we can surmise that his bone spurs didn’t flare up when running, only marching.
In further keeping with his proven lack of selflessness and compassion, The Atlantic article goes on to tell of a 2017 Memorial Day encounter with then-secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly (himself a decorated general).
While in Arlington, presumably to pay respects to the fallen, and at the graveside of Kelly’s own son, Robert Kelly, sources say Trump turned to the grieving father and said:
“I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”
He was speaking of those who laid down their lives for country and fellow man. What did they get out of serving? What was the payoff?
“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”
I remember during the Obama years the outrage over a Democrat politician suggesting that only those with no promise or low IQs joined the military. I don’t remember who said it, but I definitely remember the reaction from the alleged defenders of the right.
They were outraged!
How about now?
The president believes that nothing is worth doing without the promise of monetary payback, and that talented people who don’t pursue riches are “losers.” (According to eyewitnesses, after a White House briefing given by the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, Trump turned to aides and said, “That guy is smart. Why did he join the military?”)
Because he wanted to use his gifts in service to his nation?
So much of this, tied in with Trump’s bravado and grandstanding for God and country – two things he otherwise shows no relationship with – is a cover for his own fears and inability to relate on a human level with those he somehow bumbled his way into representing.
Sources explain his fear of dying or being disfigured (as if that ridiculous hair isn’t a deformity, all on its own). It’s why he had to be dragged to Dover Air Force Base to meet the planes carrying the bodies of fallen soldiers four times, rather than the “many, many” times he boasted.
And what about those military parades he keeps promising?
By now, we know he wants to be seen as a “strongman” leader, like his authoritarian idols, Putin and Kim Jong Un. He wants to show the world the mighty forces he commands.
Trump has been, for the duration of his presidency, fixated on staging military parades, but only of a certain sort. In a 2018 White House planning meeting for such an event, Trump asked his staff not to include wounded veterans, on grounds that spectators would feel uncomfortable in the presence of amputees. “Nobody wants to see that,” he said.
Trump denies this, but it makes perfect sense, when you consider how obsessed he is with image. Parading the wounded honors their sacrifice, not his greatness. It makes it about them, not him. So, no. He won’t have that.
And just a thought, but there could be a lot less of them to parade, a bit fewer of those flag-draped coffins to greet, if he’d do something about the bounties his pal, Putin, put on the heads of our troops in the Middle East.
But What Does the Fox Say?
Since the release of this piece from The Atlantic, I’ve had Trump loyalists predictably screech that only Fox News can report on this accurately, and unless they say it, it’s not true. It can’t be! Trump is perfect!
So where are they now, after a Fox News reporter confirmed with the sources that the bulk of the piece is true?
Jennifer Griffin: “My sources are unimpeachable…Not every line of the Atlantic article did I confirm, but I would say that most of the descriptions and the quotes in that Atlantic article I did find people who were able to confirm…” https://t.co/8zHOZ3uG2x
— Katie Phang (@KatiePhang) September 5, 2020
Silence, for now, but the excuses will start soon.
This is how a republic dies, and I’ve been pointing that out for the last five years. When a people’s loyalty shifts from love of nation to love and devotion to a single, flawed leader, at the expense of every other institution, the fall is well under way.
Continue to pray for this nation.