Editorial: Will Trump’s Disrespect for the U.S. Military Finally Be the Last Straw for His Base?

Though Americans are no longer shocked at the unethical and dishonest things Donald Trump says and does, we haven’t stopped being appalled at each new instance. We have come to realize that there is no depth too deep for Trump to plumb, even as each time, we say, “Surely this time will be the last straw. No one will put up with that.” This week’s last straw came from an article that illustrates Donald Trump’s abiding disrespect toward U.S. troops.

The article, by The Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, describes a number of occasions, occurring over time, when Trump has made deeply offensive comments about the U.S. military. His remarks have ranged from wondering aloud why a fallen soldier would be willing to make such a sacrifice, to implying that captured soldiers had failed at their jobs, and questioning why it was worth the effort to try to locate or rescue them.

In one incident, Trump was set to visit he Aisne-Marne American Cemetery to pay respects to fallen American World War I soldiers during a trip to France. Because of inclement weather, Trump, concerned about his hair, decided to skip the visit to the cemetery, saying, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”

Trump denied the story, and told reporters that he had called Melania at home and told her he was upset that the trip had to be canceled. “I spoke to my wife and I said ‘I hate this. I came here to go to that ceremony.’ And to the one that was the following day which I did go to. I said I feel terribly. And that was the end of it.” (In reality, Melania wasn’t “home,” she was in France with Trump.)

Trump aides who were present during the incident say that when Trump learned of the press fallout from his decision to skip the cemetery visit, he got angry at the aides for not warning him how the press would react.

The Atlantic article also tells of Trump’s visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, with then chief of staff General John Kelly. At the grave of Kelly’s son, Robert, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, Trump said to Kelly, ‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’”

Donald Trump’s insulting comments about the late John McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Viet Nam, are well known. In 2015, Trump called McCain a “loser,”saying that he wasn’t a war hero because he was a prisoner of war. “I like people who weren’t captured, ok?” Said Trump. Trump now denies ever having made those remarks, though they’re immortalized on video.

About the article in The Atlantic, Trump has said, “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” Trump told reporters. “There is nobody that respects them more. No animal — nobody — what animal would say such a thing?”

And “It was a terrible thing that somebody could say the kind of things — and especially to me ’cause I’ve done more for the military than almost anyone anybody else.”

Alas, however, even Fox News confirmed the reports included in the article. Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin tweeted, “According to one former senior Trump administration official: ‘When the President spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, ‘It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker’.”

Griffin also tweeted, “This former official heard the President say about American veterans: ‘What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.’ Source: “It was a character flaw of the President. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.”

Trump has denied the reports as a “fake story.” He is pressuring Fox News to fire Griffin. Of Griffin’s “source,” Trump suggested that it could have been his former chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly.

In a possible advance attempt to discredit John Kelly, should Kelly turn out to be the source, Trump said, Kelly had been burned out, and “was unable to handle the pressure of this job.”

Each time Donald Trump has said or done something that should appall even his steadfast base, the base has found ways to deny, excuse, or rationalize his behavior. When none of those options is possible, they take the option of not caring.

When the news came out recently that Russia had offered Taliban-linked militants cash bounties on the heads of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, we all thought that surely Trump’s base, in its passion for the U.S. military, would care about this. When Trump didn’t show outrage or vow to get to the bottom of the story, and instead disregarded the news as a “Democrat hoax,” however, his base, too, chose simply not to care.

The base continues to look expectantly to Donald Trump as their hero and savior, as their jobs, their environment, their health and well-being, and likely even their Medicare and Social Security benefits, are pulled out from under them. Their “America First” ignorance and apathy about the crucial relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world have caused them to allow Donald Trump to slide the country into a precarious and disrespected position in the world, while promising to Make America Great Again.

It is incomprehensible that Trump’s base could possibly find it in themselves to continue their support for a commander-in-chief who disparages and belittles what they consider hallowed— the U.S. military. Surely, this incident, this accounting of Trump’s complete lack of esteem and respect for our troops, should be the thing that opens the eyes of Trump’s base to how inappropriate, unsuitable, and incompetent Trump is for the office of president. It’s a safe bet once again, however, that even with this incident, the base will simply choose not to care.

Trump Calls Fallen U.S. Troops ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ | NowThis News

Trump vehemently upset over Atlantic article that suggests he disrespected troops, John McCain | CBS This Morning [2020-09-04]

Editorial: Donald Trump’s New Fling: QAnon

Donald Trump’s recent endorsement of Georgia Republican congressional candidate and QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene is yet another indication that Trump’s presidency has nothing to do with the pursuit of truth or integrity, and everything to do with what Trump sees as sustenance for his ego.

Following Greene’s primary win, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”

No one should be surprised by Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement of Greene on the basis of her vocal racism and xenophobia. She is a 9/11 truther, and has made statements that Muslims don’t belong in government, that members of the Black Lives Matter movement are “idiots,” and that “the most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males.” Those statements fit perfectly with the ideology of Donald Trump.

When one digs further into the sinister cult-like QAnon movement itself, however, it may be hard to understand why anyone, especially the president of the United States, could consider a QAnon supporter to be fit for a public office— until one discovers that the prevailing QAnon conspiracy theories are about Donald Trump, himself.

The currently dominant (and baseless) QAnon conspiracy claims that a cabal of Satan-worshipping and blood-drinking pedophiles that includes politicians and A-list celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, and of course…the Democrats, are in cahoots with governments around the globe to engage in child sex trafficking. (They conveniently leave out all of those images of Trump himself partying with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.) Followers also believe there is a “deep state” that wants to take down Trump. Why? Because Donald Trump has arrived on the scene to vanquish them.

Other QAnon conspiracy theories involve mass shootings (such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, which they claim didn’t really happen), and now the coronavirus (including the idea that 5G cellular networks spread the virus).

Greene posted a video on social media, in which she says, “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”

One would expect a rational person to either be horrified but this cult-like movement, or to laugh at its absurdity. Not Donald Trump. Trump is not a reader, and we know that he is not a critical thinker or an avid consumer of factual information, even if someone were to read it to him. His comprehension of the QAnon movement stops at “I understand they like me very much.” That’s all Trump needs in order to embrace it.

When a reporter told Trump that the crux of QAnon is the belief that he is “secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” Trump responded, “Well I haven’t heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?”

Trump doesn’t appear to care that he is legitimizing a dangerous cult-like movement that the FBI considers a “domestic terrorist threat.” The FBI has catalogued QAnon as an “anti-government, identity-based, and fringe political (web of) conspiracy theories” that “very likely motivate some domestic extremists to commit criminal, sometimes violent activity.”

For Donald Trump, all that matters is that “QAnon supporters like me very much, which I appreciate” (and therefore, “They love our country”).

Upon learning that QAnon sees him as somewhat of a Christlike figure, Trump also said, “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there… And we are actually. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country, and when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow.”

Though QAnon may have become Donald Trump’s favorite conspiracy theory (what narcissist wouldn’t love to be seen as a messiah, even if by lunatics?), he has promoted at least 25 additional conspiracy theories since his candidacy. Another favorite recent Trump conspiracy theory centers on the question of Kamala Harris’ citizenship and qualifications for the office of Vice President, based on the fact that her parents were immigrants. (Harris, born in Oakland, California, is an American citizen.) And who could forget the similar theory around President Barack Obama’s birth certificate? Additionally, there’s the battery of disinformation and conspiracy around the coronavirus— its origin, scale, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Donald Trump’s legacy will include the conspiracy culture that he has fostered, and in part, created.

QAnon and similar movements support Donald Trump’s worldview, and any movement that does that, no matter how false, dangerous, or violent, will be embraced by Donald Trump, because the only truth that interests him is his truth.

Many high-ranking House Republican leaders have distanced themselves from Marjorie Taylor Greene and from QAnon. After Trump legitimized the movement, however, some have changed their stance and are now supporting Greene. As these leaders continually demonstrate, they, too, tend to align with Trump’s truth.

“The president has weakened the antibodies in the Republican Party against nutty conspiracy theories because the president himself believes in them,” said journalist and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

With every retweet and remark supporting unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories and their believers, Donald Trump gives them more credibility and authority. And each time Trump chooses his ego over his country, he adds to the glut of political and medical disinformation— and ignorance—  filling our country. The result is the moral, spiritual, physical, and even financial price Americans are now paying. And when Donald Trump endorsed QAnon supporter Marjory Taylor Greene, he demonstrated, again, that he was more than willing for us to pick up the tab.

President Trump not shying from support of QAnon conspiracy theorists |
CBS This Morning [2020-08-20]

Trump PRAISES QAnon supporters | The Hill {2020-08-19]