While there are many things in the Trump administration that defy credulity—his Twitter tantrums, his flailing against the press as the “enemy of the people,” his seeming inability to offer comfort in the wake of tragedies like the Tree of Life Synagogue or the California wildfires—his ongoing defamation of our military leaders and his snubs of the traditions for honoring our troops are nothing less than conduct unbecoming.
There is a famous Denzel Washington scene from the 1993 movie “Philadelphia,” a line of dialogue that best reflects my bewilderment at President Trump’s role as Commander in Chief. “Explain this to me,” Denzel says, rubbing his hands hard over his face, “like I’m a two year-old, because there is an element to this I just cannot get through my thick head.”
On Nov. 10, the president tweeted, “I am in Paris getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One. Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?” But then he skipped the celebration altogether, a last-minute no-show for his meticulously planned memorial visit to Aisne Marne American Cemetery, a short 50 mile drive from Paris.
The reason given? It was raining.
Upon his return to Washington D.C., the president then took a pass on paying his respects at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day, a long-held presidential tradition.
The reason given? Too busy making phone calls.
The president has been in office almost two years, and while he has made plenty of boondoggles down to Mar a Lago and has visited his golf courses more than 150 times, he has yet to visit our troops deployed to war zones.
The reason given? “He does not want to associate himself with wars he views as failures.”
To paraphrase Denzel, could someone please explain all of this to me like I’m a two year-old? Because there is an element to this level of disrespect I just cannot get through my thick head.
And let’s not forget the troops deployed here at home.
In the days leading up to our Nov. 6 midterm elections, the president insisted a dangerous invasion threatened our southern border, that thousands of migrants who were both on foot and still more than a thousand miles away, posed an imminent threat. “Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border,” he tweeted. “Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!”
He immediately deployed almost 6,000, active duty troops to the border. He warned that he might deploy up to 10,000! Fifteen-thousand if need be!
But a mere three weeks later, this caravan has all but disappeared from public view. Where did they go? What happened?
No credible explanation has been given, and “according to Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the commander of U.S. Army North, who is helming the operation from San Antonio, Texas, ‘Our end date right now is 15 December, and I’ve got no indications from anybody that we’ll go beyond that.’”
In a recent interview with Chris Wallace of FOX News, the president took umbrage, inexplicably defaming Adm. William McRaven, the commander of Seal Team 6 who served honorably for 37 years, accusing him of being a partisan hack and musing offhandedly, “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?”
These are the president’s own words, his actions, and they defy decency.
We often hear the president’s loyalists insist he is doing a fine job, that the poor man receives too little credit and too much criticism, and that, above all, they did not vote for a saint, a minister, or a moralist to serve in the Oval Office.
What about Commander in Chief? Did they vote for one of those? Maybe they could explain it to me like a two year-old, because by his own actions, the president as the leader of our great military is woefully missing in action.