Losers and Suckers

My father was in the Army Air Corps in World War II. My wife Naomi and I were both in the Army. I have ancestors who fought in World War I and the Civil War—they were from Minnesota and fought for the Union. Naomi’s aunt Peggy was an Army nurse in World War II. She served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France into Germany and Central Europe. She was with the first nurses entering the Dachau Concentration Camp. Yes, she was a real hero.

Donald Trump consistently ridiculed John McCain, another war hero from a family of warriors. On September 3, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of the Atlantic, published “Trump: Americans Who Died in War are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers.’ The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic.” Trump categorically denied it. Consequently, every news organization checked it out and confirmed the story, including Fox News.

First things first. I read the Goldberg story. Given Trump, the details are not unexpected, just pathetic. He wants an authoritarian, militaristic government, yet has no respect for the military. The Goldberg articles has four major sets of quotes. First was the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris, which Trump refused to visit, in part because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead: “It’s filled with losers.” The 1,800 marines killed at the important battle of Belleau Wood were “suckers.” “He didn’t understand why the US would intervene on the side of the Allies.” So much for patriotism, service, or sacrifice.

Second, was Trump’s insults about John McCain, including “we’re not going to support that loser’s funeral.” As Goldberg put it; “Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved … He seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. This brings up the third point, George HW Bush, who he referred to: “as a ‘loser’ for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. … Trump finds the notion of military service difficult to understand, and the idea of volunteering to serve especially incomprehensible.”

The fourth point was Trump’s visit to Arlington National Cemetery, not far from Washington. John Kelly, who was secretary of homeland security at the time and later chief of staff, was with him, visiting his son’s grave (Robert Kelly was killed in Afghanistan in 2010). Trump’s comment: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Goldberg’s explanation: “He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself.”

Trump and the White House, of course, claimed the story was entirely false. Because the media actually believes in the truth, journalists went out to determine if it was true. In additional to supporting everything in Goldberg’s story, they uncovered more. Even Mary Trump added that Trump threatened to disinherit Don Jr. for considering enlisting in the military.

It’s the Memorial Day weekend. Consequently, there is a large boat rally on Lake Travis honoring Trump, including gigantic Trump 2020 and Make America Great Again flags. I have no words.

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© 2016 Gary Giroux