President Trump gave a flowery speech today in New York City heaping praise upon our nation’s veterans, honoring them for their service and thanking himself for doing oh so very much to improve their lives.
But his obligatory photo-op and canned, empty speech about our nation’s “greatest heroes” belies the appalling disrespect and disregard that the President has shown our veterans and their families in the past.
Let’s take a look at how our President-elect really feels about our fighting men and women.
After Staff Sgt. La David Johnson was killed in a mysterious operation in Niger and his body left behind, the President told his pregnant widow Myeshia Johnson that he “knew what he signed up for” and reportedly couldn’t even remember the man’s name in his condolence call. After Johnson told her Congresswoman, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), the president embarked on a two-week feud in which he trashed the two black women as “liars” and accused his predecessor Pres. Barack Obama of “never having called” the families of veterans. In reality, White House emails revealed that “not only had the president not contacted virtually all the families of military personnel killed [that] year, the White House did not even have an up-to-date list of those who had been killed.”
2. Donald Trump and his surrogates attacked and besmirched the service and the family of Capt. Humayun Khan, who died heroically saving his unit from an insurgent car bomb in Baquabah, Iraq.
When his grieving father, Khizir Khan, told the DNC that Trump didn’t know the meaning of sacrifice, Trump argued that he had “sacrificed” by “employing people” and “creating thousands of jobs” — an argument, incidentally, that his own son echoed just a few days ago. He insulted his mother as well, claiming that “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.” His New York campaign chair, Carl Paladino, said that “Khan doesn’t deserve that title” of Gold Star father and wondered if he had an “ISIS-type attitude.”
All this because Khan asked Trump if he had ever been to Arlington Cemetary — which incidentally, he skipped visiting last year in order to watch television instead.
3. Trump skipped a visit to Arlington National Cemetary and watched television instead
4. Donald Trump infamously insulted Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for “getting captured,” saying “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
John McCain’s bomber was shot down by a missile on October 26th, 1967. His right leg and both arms were broken by the force of the ejection and his subsequent crash, where he was taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. He was later tortured and held in captivity for five years. He was offered an early release since he was the son of an admiral, and he refused to take it – for which he was tortured again.
6. Trump once held a fundraiser for veterans in order to excuse him skipping a FOX News debate and used the $2.8 million he raised to promote his campaign, pay off his business debts, and buy a full-size portrait of himself. He was recently fined $2 million for the fraud.
7. Donald Trump once tweeted out that women in the military were responsible for their own sexual assaults.
“What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” said the now-President of the United States. Given his own lengthy record of sexual assault, it is unsurprising that Trump would think that all men are entitled to behave as he does – just “grab them by the pussy,” as Trump said on a hot mic.
8. Donald Trump has been sued by several veterans for violating federal law and refusing to give them back their previous jobs within the for-profit “Trump University” scam. One Trump U administrator told Senior Master Sgt. Richard Wright of the 451st Expeditionary Group that “you have been here less than three months (deducting your time off for the Air Force Reserve). I find it insulting that you would make a request to be paid for time you did not work and/or personal time you did not earn.”
9. Donald Trump, who dodged the Vietnam draft with imaginary medical conditions, said that having unprotected sex with models was his own “personal Vietnam.” 60,000 young Americans died while Trump was busy getting his rocks off.
10. Trump once congratulated a soldier he just awarded the Purple Heart, telling Army Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos that it was “tremendous” that he earned a medal for getting his leg blown off.
11. Trump once picked a deeply weird fight with a veterans’ group over his misquoting of the movie Apocalypse Now.
12. Trump once skipped a meeting with veterans and sent Apprentice star Omarosa in his place.
13. Trump tried to get veteran street vendors kicked off the sidewalk of 5th Avenue for “clogging and seriously downgrading the area.”
14. Trump allowed three unqualified and unelected members of his Mar-a-Lago club to form a shadow board and dictate policy at the Veterans’ Administration
16. Trump exploited the widow of a SEAL who died in his first military raid as an applause line and said her husband would have been proud because she helped break a “record” for applause.
17. Trump once bullied his then-Chief of Staff, John Kelly, to exploit the tragic death of his son to attack President Obama.
Actions speak louder than words, and when you have this long a track record — and this many awful words — of disrespect, disparagement, and exploitation of our veterans and their service, it’s clear that the President sees them as nothing but a convenient prop for him to wrap in the flag and use for his own selfish ambitions.