“He knew what signed up for…” President Donald John Trump, October 17, 2017, speaking to Myeshia Johnson, pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, 26, killed in action in Niger earlier this month
Nine months into Donald Trump’s presidency, I have run out of negative comments that I can make to insult him and such is not my intention this morning. I write for two purposes, first to commemorate the sacrifice of Sgt. Johnson, a Green Beret who we are now learning was left behind after being killed during combat only to be discovered days later by local forces. May he rest in peace and may the good Lord bless his pregnant widow and family who will mourn him for all eternity.
The second purpose is to ask at what point will Trump’s supporters even say, “enough” to yet another of his horrifically comments to a military family or personnel? I voted for President Barack Obama twice, but the record shows that when I took issue with him on myriad topics, I had no qualms with calling him out in my column spaces and blogs. Trump’s supporters, however, have no qualms in defending any and everything that he does–even when insults members of the military and/or their families.
The irony, indeed, is rich being that over the last 30 days, Trump has been the leading “Keyboard Patriot” in calling out NFL players who kneel in protest of police brutality against black people during the Star Spangled Banner. By “Keyboard Patriot,” I mean those who take to social media to act like they are these great defenders of America but when the record is examined, they have done little to nothing in their civilian lives to “support and defend the Constitution.” At a political rally in Alabama last month, Trump called the kneeling Black NFL players “Sons of Bitches” for failing to “support the flag and the troops,” and by so doing, he inspired millions of fellow Keyboard Patriots who conveniently ignored the real reason of the protest to make it a referendum on why those “ungrateful, spoiled niggers,” as one poster wrote, fail to show their loves for America.
During this same period, while Trump has Tweeted ad nauseam about the kneeling NFL players, he never called the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger, including Sgt. Johnson, not nann time. When called out on this dereliction of presidential duty earlier this week, Trump’s knee jerk reaction was his typical–he attacked his predecessors and claimed that they never called the families of the deceased, either. The problem is that many of the families of the dead have clapped back in the media to express how the Bushes, Clinton and Barack Obama comforted them during their earliest moments of grief.
(President Barack Obama saluting the casket of a fallen soldier upon arrival at the military morgue at Dover AFB)
Undaunted by the facts, Trump even tried to throw his Chief of Staff, retired Marine General John Kelly, into the fray by suggesting that Obama never reached out to his family after his son, Marine 2nd Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Iraq. The problem is that this, too, was a lie as the Kelly’s were personally invited by the Obamas to attend a commemoration for “Gold Star” families–those who lost family members in combat– in 2011.
Trump’s lies, indeed, know no end. Which, extraordinarily, have become all too ordinary at this moment. Still, his supporters did not call into question Trump’s eight draft deferments during the Vietnam War when then candidate Trump dissed Vietnam War hero Sen. John McCain in 2015 by poking fun at the fact that McCain was captured and spent almost seven years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Trump’s supporters did not call into question when Trump commented that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases during the 1960s was his “personal Vietnam.” When candidate Trump insulted the parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004, his supporters did not call this into question, either. Trump’s supporters were silent when he joked how he “always wanted a Purple Heart,” the medal given to service members wounded in combat. And now, Trump’s supporters refuse to call into question his despicably rude and insensitive comment to Mrs. Johnson yesterday.
Having no choice but to watch this preternaturally inept president carefully this year, it is clear to me that the man is rude, thin-skinned, uncouth, haughty, and prodigiously ignorant about history, geography, civics and the solemn duties that his office holds, which include being a consoler-in-chief during national or individual tragedies. Trump’s lack of empathy was on display when he tossed paper towels like basketballs to Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico; it was on display when he politicized how long federal emergency workers would remain in Puerto Rico all because he was angry that San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Cruz, expressed her concerns about the initial slow pace of the federal response.
But as bad as his deportment in Puerto Rico was, the comment to Mrs. Johnson, truly, is a new low. Which is bad, mind you, as the bar is already at historic lows. But for a president who tries so desperately to project a tough guy persona, one who is constantly needling Kim Jon Un in North Korea and the leaders in Iran–all the while threatening war–his comments will only lead many Americans to ask why any of us should fight or die for an ungrateful nation that is led by an ungrateful dilettante in the Oval Office, one who will neither meet your remains at Dover to salute nor issue obsequies fitting your ultimate sacrifice?
The Johnson family deserved better. America deserves better…