President Trump is infamous for his cynical exploitation of our armed forces for his own political gain and for callous displays of indifference to their sacrifices, which is why its so easy to believe the report which shows both the staggering depths of his disdain for those who gave their all for their nation and his sociopathic inability to understand any decision not made for one’s own immediate personal benefit.
Former IDF prison guard and Iraq War promoter Jeffery Goldberg at the Atlantic claims that Trump’s infamous cancellation of an Armistice Day visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, which the White House said was due to heavy rain, was actually because Trump was worried his hair would get messed up and didn’t see the point of it anyway.
Four people with knowledge of the conversation told Goldberg that 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.”
He expressed similar sentiments when Sen. John McCain died, saying that he was a “f*cking loser.”
When McCain died, Trump told senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge, "We're not going to support that loser's funeral." He became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered. "What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser." https://t.co/DJIaH8zLLf
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 3, 2020
The disrespect to America’s fallen soldiers didn’t stop there; apparently, during a Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetary, Trump visited the grave of Robert Kelly, the dead son of his then chief-of-staff, Gen. John Kelly, and told him that he couldn’t understand what was “in it” for them:
“But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.
“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.”
If this were any other president, one might think these words were made up — but given what we know about Trump and his disrespect for the military, it’s obvious that he said these things.
Trump’s utter contempt for our veterans is legendary at this point. While he speaks often of our armed forces at his rallies, in practice, Trump can’t be bothered to give them the time of day. Donald Trump waged a heartless feud against the widow of slain Green Beret La David Johnson, used the death of Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly’s son as a cudgel to attack President Obama with, famously dodged a meeting with veterans by sending Omarosa to meet with them instead, and slandered the parents of an Iraq War hero because they were Muslim.
There’s also the time he tried to get veteran vendors kicked off of New York’s 5th Avenue because they were “unsightly,” or the time he skipped a FOX News debate to hold a “fundraiser” for veterans and then had to be bullied by the media into actually paying out the money.
While the president publicly worships our veterans as part of his patriotic minstrel show for all of his hooting and baying fans, he’s made it clear time and time again that he couldn’t care less for their sacrifices beyond their own political utility to him and his ambitions.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.