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Polit-ticks Me Off: President Trump’s Hypocritcal Stance on the Military

Illustration by Sarah Natchipolsky

Illustration by Sarah Natchipolsky

Sarah Natchipolsky, Chief Copy Editor

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Hypocrisy is nothing new in Donald Trump’s White House, but his stance on respecting the military is particularly insulting as he so often claims to be the military’s biggest supporter.

Recently, in response to a movement of NFL players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, President Trump said that when their players kneel, team owners should “Get that son of a b***h off the field,” citing that, “That’s a total disrespect of our heritage, that’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for.”

Vice President Mike Pence took a similar stance, tweeting, “@POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

However, what Pence failed to acknowledge is just how disrespectful President Trump has been toward the same U.S. soldiers that he claims to honor.

The president called Myeshia Johnson Oct. 17, wife of Army Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed in combat Oct. 4. During the phone call, he allegedly said that her husband “knew what he was getting into” by going to war and fighting in combat.

“Get that son of a b***h off the field,” – President Donald Trump

Johnson said that the president also forgot her husband’s name several times during the call. Trump’s inability to deliver a sympathetic, respectfully worded message to the wife of a soldier who sacrificed his life for his country is pitiful, especially coming from a man whose administration claims to be avid supporters of the military.

Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was in the car with Johnson during the phone call, and confirmed that Johnson’s accusations were true.

The president could have simply issued an apology in response to the allegations, but instead addressed the accusation via Twitter, writing, “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Trump never released the evidence.

This is not the first instance in which Trump has blatantly disrespected families of fallen soldiers.
In July 2016, Khizr Khan, the father of Capt. Humayun Khan who was killed in Iraq in 2004, delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention denouncing Trump. Khan said in his speech that as a Pakistani Muslim, “[My son] would have never been in America [if it was up to Trump]. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.”

Trump retaliated to the speech in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, saying that Khan’s wife, Ghazala Khan, who stood next to her husband during the speech, “[maybe] wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”

These xenophobic comments are a cruel blow to the Muslim community and to Gold Star parents who deserve the utmost respect for their children’s sacrifices. Instead of respectfully disagreeing with what Kahn said, Trump targeted all Muslim women and a grieving mother.

Trump claims to honor the sacrifices of our military, but mocks soldiers for making those very sacrifices. Sen. John McCain was a POW during the Vietnam War, and when McCain called Trump supporters at a 2015 rally in Phoenix “crazies,” Trump responded by saying that McCain is not a war hero and that he “[likes] people who weren’t captured.” This response is ignorant and insulting to anyone who has served in the military.

Trump has repeatedly shown his willingness to insult and belittle soldiers and their family members. As NFL players continue to protest, Trump should focus on the many other issues facing this country. He forfeited his right to lecture anyone about respecting the U.S. military long ago.

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Polit-ticks Me Off: President Trump’s Hypocritcal Stance on the Military