HERE WE ARE in yet another mess with President Trump, this one surrounding an Atlantic Magazine article that said he disrespected veterans and the war dead and considered them losers for choosing a military career instead of going for the money.
The flap now is over whether President Trump actually said what the magazine reported he said. White House flacks say no, he didn’t say that and is an ardent supporter of the military, which you can measure by looking at the money he has given.
But that’s the wrong way to look at this, I would argue. What the president said or didn’t say simply doesn’t matter. He has no credibility on any subject at all, so whether he denies something reported about him his basically meaningless. The real problem with the article is not a question of accuracy.
It’s a question of character.
Trump likes the military as a backdrop, troops lined up, roaring tanks, fly overs, the whole scrambled collection of things the Army, Navy, Air Force Marines and Coast Guard can produce when called on to set the tone for an event. That’s why he wanted a military parade in Washington. He even considered trying to use the dead at Gettysburg as a backdrop for his re-nomination. He is that shameless. But that’s all about using props, like airport hangers filled with a couple of thousand supporters to show how much he is loved.
President Trump has shown himself a convenient critic of warfare whenever it suits his needs, and that criticism includes how he viewed veterans, dead and alive, from a variety of conflicts. What he has had to say about the late Sen. John McCain, alone, should have earned him condemnation from any patriot who understands the sacrifice military people are always called to make. McCain was a genuine hero and paid a high price for it.
To Trump, he was a loser.
Dig into that attitude and it carries you all the way back to the convenient diagnosis of bone spurs that kept him out of the military during the Vietnam era. Dig even deeper and you find Trump was angry at McCain because McCain opposed funding for one of his fantasy real estate deals. And who knows what rests beyond all of that?
The president is, of course, a nut case for a variety of other reasons that don’t even touch on this problem he has created with the military, so you don’t have to reach into the current conflict to want him to disappear after the Nov. 3 election. There’s plenty of reasons to hate him without turning toward a conflict over what he may or may not have said about the military.
But the fact of it is completely clear to people who have watched Trump over the past four years. Sadly, it sounded exactly like something he would say.
Don’t forget to vote, just once, on Nov. 3