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Trump lies to the US military

Trump lies to the US military

 


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Donald Trump has once again denied having described as worthless and losers those who gave their lives in the service of their country. But he said these things and now he wants to encourage the military to vote for him as a sign of revolt.

First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic:

His army

Donald Trump regularly attacks the institutions of the American government, especially when he believes that these institutions have not served his personal interests. He has, for example, repeatedly claimed that U.S. elections are corrupt and rigged, smearing the state, county, and local volunteers and officials who make American democracy a model for the world. He plans to gut the apolitical American civil service and place it under his political control. And he has long harbored a particular hatred, compounded by his new status as a convicted criminal, toward the courts and the rule of law. This weekend, at a rally in Las Vegas, he continued his attacks on the Justice Department and called special counsel Jack Smith deranged and a stupid son of a bitch.

The 45th president should be given credit for frankly expressing his contempt for most American institutions. He also despises members of the US armed forces, but when it comes to the military, Trump engages in monumental hypocrisy: he has repeatedly expressed contempt, even disgust, for the US military. , while pretending to adore them. In Las Vegas, Trump reiterated once again that no one loves the military more than he does, nor has done more for it. Such constructions did not do more for group X; no one likes group Y anymore; no one understands topic Z more than me – it's a common part of the Trump Mad Libs approach to public speaking.

But these bursts of verbal banter are particularly meaningless in the context of Trump's well-documented disdain for the military. Think about his 2015 shooting of John McCain while he was a prisoner of war (I like people who weren't captured), to his comments suggesting the execution of the former president of state leaders- Joint Maj. Gen. Mark Milley, and his taunting earlier this year about Nikki. Haley's husband (an Army officer serving in Africa at the time). As Michael Hirsh wrote in 2020 in Foreign Policy, even when Trump was at the military school where his parents had effectively exiled him as a teenager, he showed, according to one of his comrades, contempt for military service, discipline and tradition. and an unchecked sense of entitlement that included, according to some students, the cardinal military sin of wearing decorations and medals he had not earned.

This weekend, he was particularly angered (read: humiliated) by the reappearance of Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldbergs in an article about Trump calling dead American soldiers losers and losers. Goldberg's article received renewed attention during coverage of President Joe Biden's D-Day speeches in Europe, when some media outlets highlighted obvious differences between the two presidents, highlighting Trump's reluctance in 2018 to visit an American military cemetery in France. At the Las Vegas rally, Trump railed (as he has for years) at The Atlantics for reporting his vulgar disrespect for the dead, calling it a deal invented by a bankrupt magazine, a disaster financial. He also called Goldberg a horrible radical leftist lunatic.

(These are, of course, classic Trump insults, but for the record, The Atlantic is profitable, and while I have not formally interviewed our editor about his political views, I suspect that most readers of his work would not place him in the radical left.)

Now think about it, Trump continued, referring to his own comments disparaging the US military. Unless you're a psychopath, crazy, or a very stupid person, who would say that, anyway? But who would say that to the military?

Sometimes a rhetorical question is a little too tempting. But let's move on.

The fact is that Trump actually said some of this to a general, retired four-star Marine John Kelly, who served as his secretary of Homeland Security and later his White House chief of staff. In 2017, Trump, according to Goldberg reports, stood alongside Kelly at Arlington National Cemetery at the grave of Kelly's son, a Marine killed in Afghanistan. I don't understand, said the new president, standing among the tombstones. What did that bring them? A year and a half later, Trump visited Europe, where he called a U.S. military cemetery full of losers. During the same trip, he said the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood during World War I were idiots for being killed.

Since Goldberg's initial scoop, Kelly has confirmed all of this on the record (and others have claimed to have heard similar comments as well). But Trump's shames don't stop with his insults toward the dead and their families: Kelly also confirmed that The Atlantics reported that Trump did not want to be seen at a military parade with injured veterans, including amputees. Goldberg reported, in a separate article, that Trump objected to appearing at an event featuring a singing performance by a wounded warrior, Captain Luis Avila. Why do you bring people like that here? Trump told Milley. Nobody wants to see that, the injured. He then told Milley to never let Avila appear in public again. (When Milley retired, he invited Avila to sing at his farewell ceremony.) Writers Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, in their 2022 book, The Divider, tell a similar story: After seeing a parade Bastille Day in France in 2017, Trump told Kelly, he wanted to hold a similar military parade, but without any injured veterans. I don't want it, Trump said. This doesn't look good to me.

Trump followed his angry denials in Las Vegas with some chatter about Russia, Ukraine and hoaxes, then added a direct appeal to the American military: I hope the military will revolt at the voting booth and simply say: ” We will not accept it.”

The political neutrality of the United States armed forces has been a sacred principle of civil-military relations in the United States since George Washington first took command of the embryonic Continental Army in 1775. (For years, many military officers on active duty, including Generals Dwight Eisenhower and George C. Marshall, refused to vote on principle.) And although politicians often promised military families better wages, a better standard of living and better equipment , none called for an electoral revolt.

When most Americans refer to the military, they mean their fellow citizens who have chosen to serve the nation. Trump wants to use the military to denote a coherent, closely knit interest group of armed people who see themselves as distinct from American society and loyal, above all, to Donald Trump. (Think of some Latin American armies of the late 20th century or the uniformed commissars of the former Soviet Union.)

Trump is even more wary of the senior officer corps after the January 6 insurrection. As I wrote last winter, he felt they were thwarting his efforts to stay in power. He wants a revolt of his army which would give him the power, as the 47th president, to purge the other soldiers, those faithful to the Constitution. For all his hypocrisy about the U.S. armed forces, Trump is candid about at least one thing: If he returns to the Oval Office, he intends to treat the men and women of the U.S. military not as citizen-soldiers of a democracy. but as an armed constituency that exists to serve one man and his personal whims.

Related:

Today's news

The UN Security Council adopted a US-backed resolution that proposes a three-step plan for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Israel and Hamas have not officially accepted the deal. Far-right parties made significant gains in recent European Union parliamentary elections in France, Germany and Italy. In response, French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the country's National Assembly and called early national elections yesterday. Benny Gantz, a prominent Israeli centrist politician, resigned from Israel's war cabinet yesterday, citing concerns about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's lack of planning for the future of Gaza after the end of the war.

Dispatches

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Evening reading

Illustration by Tyler Comrie

The father-son conversation I never expected to have

By Garth Risk Hallberg

Perhaps the reason I accepted fatherhood so blithely, so blindly, is that if I had stopped for even a second to think about the range of outcomes for my future children, the Fear would have stopped me in my tracks. Not only the fear of their freedom, although that is terrifying, but also something like its opposite: the fear of not being free enough. Fear that because of bad genes, bad influence, or a combination of both, they will inherit the disorders of depression and addiction. I've barely managed to write this story so far. The troubles that at 28, 29 years old, I still believed I could write about in my life.

Read the entire article.

More from the Atlantic

Cultural break

Carl Godfrey for The Atlantic

Read. These six short story collections are rewarding reads when you only have half an hour.

Listen. The latest episode of How to Know What's Real examines how games can help us safely explore our current reality and shape new realities.

Play our daily crossword.

Stéphanie Bai contributed to this newsletter.

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