Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late Saturday morning in my corner of Florida as I start this post, and – no surprise – it’s going to be another hot late summer day here. Currently, the temperature here is 83˚F (29˚C) under mostly sunny skies. With a slight breeze blowing from the east at 2 MPH and humidity at a sticky 83%, the “feels-like” temperature is 92˚F (34˚C). Today’s forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and high humidity with a high of 92˚F (34˚C). No precipitation is expected in our area, and a local flood warning in a nearby part of the county expired over three hours ago.
As I sit here in my air-conditioned writer’s study, I am bamboozled by the cognitive dissonance shown by Trump supporters on social media every single day after Donald Trump does or says something controversial and the media reports on it. (Which is, unfortunately, an everyday occurrence!) I mean, seriously, the Make America Great Again crowd is a cult; its members figuratively close ranks and – like Pavlov’s dogs – reflexively chant “fake news” at any new revelation of their man’s crass self-centeredness.
Take, for instance, the brouhaha over a report published a couple of days ago by the respected publication The Atlantic in which Donald Trump’s disdain for the American military was put on display for all to see.
In Jeffrey Goldberg’s September 3, 2020 article Trump: Americans Who Died in Wars are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ , we see a side of the current President that he does not want his followers to see:
In his lead to the article, Goldberg writes:
When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. 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.
I believe Goldberg’s story, which is based on anonymous accounts from individuals who know former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who was present when Trump called the fallen World War I Marines “suckers.”
And, as the article points out, this is not the first time that Trump’s disdain for the military – especially those men and women in our armed forces who fall into enemy hands and become prisoners of war (POWs) or are from unpopular minorities – has come to light.
Per The Atlantic:
Trump’s understanding of concepts such as patriotism, service, and sacrifice has interested me since he expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
There was no precedent in American politics for the expression of this sort of contempt, but the performatively patriotic Trump did no damage to his candidacy by attacking McCain in this manner. Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Trump’s comments about the late Senator McCain – namesake son and grandson of two Navy admirals and himself a Vietnam War veteran- are on record, as is the attack on Capt. Humayun Khan’s parents during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Yet, his cult-like followers refuse to accept facts, calling The Atlantic’s report – what else? – “fake news.”
I will never believe Trump would say this they are trying every way to bring him down I am sure the military has his back.“D.T.” – Trump supporter, on The Hill’s Facebook page
Here are some comments that I saw on Facebook on a related story posted on The Hill’s social media page:
“D.T.” started a comment thread with this bon mot:
I will never believe Trump would say this they are trying every way to bring him down I am sure the military has his back.
“M.M” chimes in and adds: D.T. thank you. This publication thinks the readers are idiots. If you hate Trump this low hanging fruit
“F.D” says: I agree with you. Trump loves our military. He’s had so many people that was with him that he didn’t say anything like that.
And regarding Trump’s insults aimed at John McCain, “A.H.” writes: who cares if McCain was a loser . He also did some very sneaky things . I am not impressed with john mccain
My personal opinion about Trump’s denials – he swears he loves the military and that he never, ever said this – can be summed up thusly:
Trump can deny this report as much as he wants. So far, the official line from the White House is, “Fake News,” but I – sadly – stopped believing anything the Trump Administration says the minute that it claimed that the Inaugural crowds at the Mall on January 20, 2017 were larger than President Obama’s in 2009.
I also don’t care if his supporters believe Trump. It’s their right to do so, even though I believe they are saps who have been conned by a grifter and liar.
What I do believe is The Atlantic‘s account of how Trump does not understand the notion of sacrifice and service, especially when it comes to the men and women who volunteer for our armed forces. He and his dad, Fred Trump, never served in the military, and Trump did everything possible to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.