The Capital Times: Trump showed us who he is by calling fallen heroes ‘losers’
In Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, reserved for the remains of our most recent war dead, President Donald Trump spoke his mind: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”
Standing among the graves of heroes, America’s president asked a father who lost his son in Afghanistan why someone would lay down their life for our country. In one sense, it was a rare moment of truth for this president: he really doesn’t get it.
To this president, there are two kinds of people in the world: suckers, and people like him who take advantage and get ahead. So for him, those of us who put our lives on the line for this country are “suckers,” and those who gave their lives are “losers.”
Of course, those who serve and sacrifice are neither of these things. They are patriots who understand America better than he ever will. Now, the president’s words are reverberating among military families and veterans whom I’ve served or spoken with, in Wisconsin and across the country.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Donald Trump’s disrespect for our military is a lifelong pattern. Born to wealth and privilege, he faked a disability to dodge serving in Vietnam, letting some “sucker” go in his place. He’s picked fights with Gold Star families. He called four-star generals and admirals, who chose the path of service he avoided, “a bunch of dopes and babies.” We watched with our own eyes as he attacked the late John McCain — not despite, but because of the fact that the senator was a prisoner of war. “I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.
Throughout his life, Donald Trump has been telling us the kind of person he is. Now we’ve seen the kind of president he is.
Because he has so little interest in protecting our troops, Russia felt emboldened to put bounties on their heads — and our president refused to confront Vladimir Putin about it. Because he wanted to undo everything President Obama did, no matter the consequences, he has allowed Iran to resume its nuclear program. As he cozies up to strongmen around the world, while undermining our strongest alliances, we grow less secure. And because he refuses to live our values here at home, our soldiers’ jobs are even harder as they defend those values abroad.
Donald Trump has failed his sacred obligation to protect and care for those who serve our country. That disqualifies him from being commander-in-chief. Fortunately, Joe Biden is perfectly suited to replace this failed presidency.
Joe Biden actually understands what it means to command young Americans into war zones. He’s been in the Situation Room and was involved in some of the hardest decisions our leaders must make: how to keep our troops safe overseas, how to care for them when they return home, when to ask them to take enormous risk to secure our country, and how to honor the sacrifice of those who don’t return.
And Joe will never have to guess what it is like for a military family member to send a loved one off to war — because he’s done it. He knows the anxiety of a father hugging his son for the last time before he deploys.
As president, he’ll not only keep our troops safe overseas, but he’ll care for them and their families back home. That means creating incentives to encourage the hiring of veterans and pay them a living wage, offering more resources to support families and children of service members, and improving management and accountability at the VA.
In short, Joe Biden gets it.
This election will indeed be a battle for the soul of our nation. Part of that national soul is a fundamental respect for the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. We need to come together and elect a president who reflects these values — and that’s Joe Biden.
Donald Trump won’t suddenly change to become a better commander or a better man. As Sen. Kamala Harris has said: The president he has been is the president he will be. Our country, and all of those who serve it, deserve so much better.
When I served in the Afghanistan war, I did so knowing that my commanders held my interests at heart, from the colonel overseeing my unit all the way up to the Oval Office. And I knew that part of my protection was the flag on my shoulder, the emblem of a country known to keep its word. I could feel how American values, as well as American might, protected me and those at my side.
That is America at its best, and it is the America we could restore, if we elect Joe Biden as our next President of the United States. This election represents our one and only chance to do just that.