Trump Only Supports the Troops on the Campaign Trail

Inside the president’s long list of broken promises to the military.

Trump has a script he uses when he wants to tweet an endorsement for a Republican congressional candidate. He always says: “Candidate X fights for your Second Amendment, defends our Borders, strengthens our Military and loves our Vets!” For those of us who have gone in search of an agenda the president promotes, that pretty much sums up what he’d like us to believe are his priorities.

At his campaign rallies, Trump brags about how he’s rebuilt our military and passed the Veteran’s Choice Act, both of which have been rated lies by the Washington Post fact-checkers. So in the midst of the news that Russia offered bounties to extremists in Afghanistan for killing U.S. soldiers, perhaps it’s time to review what the president has actually done to our military.

  • He said John McCain wasn’t a “war hero” because he was a POW (“I like people who weren’t captured”)
  • He belittled the Gold Star parents of a Muslim soldier who died in Iraq.
  • He told troops in Iraq that they were getting a 10 percent pay raise, which was a lie (it was 2.6 percent).
  • He diverted $3.6 billion from military projects to pay for his border wall.
  • He pardoned three war criminals, despite objections from the Pentagon.
  • He promised to veto a defense appropriations bill if it removes confederate names from military bases.

Following Trump’s decision to pardon Edward Gallagher, who had been convicted of war crimes, former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer wrote that President Trump “has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.” Retired Air Force Major Steve Nolan wrote that “we have, for the first time in U.S. history, someone in charge of the military who would be unfit to hold the lowest rank within the military.” Former Defense Secretary James Mattis weighed in more recently.

We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution…Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.

It has now been over a week since the New York Times broke the story about Russia paying bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Even if the president didn’t know about the intelligence reports, he’s now had plenty of time to take a stand in support of our military. That hasn’t happened.

In the days since the reports became public, Trump has declined to criticize Putin or Russia, and senior administration officials say the White House isn’t planning a response. Instead, Trump told Fox News on Wednesday that the entire affair is a “hoax by the newspapers and the Democrats” and insisted he wasn’t briefed on the intelligence in the first place because it was inconclusive.

The lives of U.S. troops have been threatened, but the president hasn’t done anything and doesn’t plan to do anything. As with everything else we hear from Trump, his bragging about how much he supports our military is just another lie.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.