[Updating post. Last updated November 23, 2019]
Partisans on the right unjustly criticized Obama, saying he disrespected the military. Presidents frequently get attacked unfairly, but when comparing how Obama treated the military and how Trump treats them, well, there’s no comparison. Trump’s words and actions are much worse.
These critics unfairly influenced right-leaning independent voters into thinking Obama was bad for the military, and Trump is good for the military. Both Trump and Obama never served in the military, but the way Obama interacted with the military was much more respectful than the way Trump interacts. In addition, the way Obama reacted to criticism regarding the military was always respectful of the military. Trump has many bad habits including an inability to apologize, recognize mistakes publicly, and repair damage. Trump’s instincts tell him to double down on mistakes, and if anyone criticizes him, hit back ten-times harder without consideration to the validity of the complaint.
Now, in all fairness, people make mistakes, and some of these are easily forgivable. They are included here only because of the petty stuff mentioned about Obama — an apples to apples comparison. But Trump has never taken back, apologized, nor explained these things in a way that honors the military.
JUST A FEW OF THE MANY EXAMPLES:
In Nov 2019, Trump interfered with the chain of command. Trump-appointed Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley have raised serious concerns after Trump tweeted:
“the Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin.” –Trump
Trump ignored advice from the Pentagon and intervened in three war crimes cases this month alone. Trump pardoned two service members and restored Gallagher’s rank.
The NYT reported that both Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Rear Adm. Collin Green complained about the situation and even made rumbling threats to resign or be fired over Trump’s disrespect for military command. The Pentagon is strongly urging Trump to let military discipline measures run their course without interference.
In Oct 2019, Trump unilaterally abandoned our Kurd military friends with ZERO input from our military. He did this on a whim after a call with the Turkish president. Trump has a two Trump Towers in Turkey and has admitted he has a conflict. The Kurds fought and destroyed ISIS for US! They had over 11,000 deaths. They have over 1,300 ISIS fighters locked up. Several hundred have already escaped. The rest will likely escape now.
I guess we have to drop our
“NO MAN LEFT BEHIND”
military saying. America’s new military saying,
“Wham bam thank you soldier, now run, or die.”
In Feb 2019, Trump declared an illegal national emergency and ordered that money allocated by Congress for Pentagon military construction projects be used instead for the wall. Our Constitution gives budgetary responsibility to Congress ONLY! The only statistic you need to know to verify this is not an emergency is that immigration arrests are down 80% since 2000. As a reminder, the Constitution is law. In fact, it is the supreme law of the land.
Update: On Friday, Oct 10, 2019, a Federal judge ruled the President of the United States broke Federal law.
In early Jan 2019, Frustrated, Trump explores having the military build his border wall. This is beyond disrespectful to the military and is likely unconstitutional. Why do Republicans stay silent when a president abuses his power? Do Republicans have any morals? Or, values?
On Dec 26, 2018 Trump lied to the Troops. He told them to their face in a war zone that he personally got them a raise. A big one more than 10%. He said people came to him and told him to only do 3 or 4%, but he said no, they have not had a raise in 10 years so make it more than 10%. Trump told that disrespectful lie to their face.
- The troop’s are only getting a normal 2.6% raise this year.
- The troop’s have gotten a raise every year for the last 10+ years.
- The biggest increase in the last 10 years was Obama in 2010 with a 3.4% raise.
- The President has “no control” over raises as they are tied to the private sector by law.
- If the President truly wanted to give them a raise, he has to go through Congress. Again, Trump is not a dictator, nor King.
Trump to the troops in Iraq:
"You haven’t gotten [a raise] in more than ten years. More than ten years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one….I said no. Make it ten percent. Make it more than ten percent. Because it’s been a long time."
Just FYI, none of this is true.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 26, 2018
In Dec 2018, Trump finally visited the troops for the first time after 23 months in office. Not really that big a deal because he did go–eventually. And, he made use of the government shutdown time and Christmas holiday to get this done.
But, as usual, Trump broke norms…
- He essentially turned it into a Trump rally. The norm is that presidential partisan politics ends at the border.
- He spoke about pay raises. The norm is to not degrade war zone comfort with talk of pay.
On Dec 19, 2018, Trump withdraws from Syria by tweet. His Chief of Staff didn’t know, nor his cabinet, nor the Pentagon, nor DOD, nor our allies. Trump had no plan. In all fairness, there are good justifications for pulling out of Syria, but Trump negotiated nothing. Got nothing. Abandoned our allies. Trump setup 50,000 Kurds to get slaughtered by Turkey.
On Nov 22, 2018, Trump made his Thanksgiving call to the military political. He repeated controversial political statements during what is typically a ceremonial and routine Thanksgiving call.
On Nov 20, 2018, despite the conclusion of the CIA that MBS ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump did not condemn the killing, nor punish Saudi Arabia in any way. In fact, he rewarded them and covered up saying maybe MBS did it, maybe he didn’t—literally in the official statement. Remember, Khashoggi was a permanent resident of America, was a Washington Post reporter living in Virginia with 3 American citizen children.
On Nov 19, 2018, Trump and the Republican party disrespected Admiral Bill McRaven claiming falsely that he should have found Osama Bin Laden sooner. Many pointed out he was wrong, but he never corrected himself. The CIA, not McRaven, found Osama Bin Laden. McRaven then lead the mission that killed him two days later. McRaven did not support HRC, and was considered for an NSA position with Trump.
On Nov 12, 2018, Trump tried to disenfranchise active duty military overs seas. He wanted to stop the counting of ballets in Florida as of election night. He did not want the ballots of military personnel around the world counted.
The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
On Nov 10, 2018, Trump in France disrespected our troops. He refused to visit the graves of American troops for the 100-year WWI anniversary because of a little rain. The only leader there to do that.
Trump sent 5,600 troops to the border for a photo op.
On May 28, 2018, Trump used Memorial Day to speak about dead troops, and how they would be proud of Trump. His statement was not presidential, nor respectful.
Trump put 3 members of his Mar-a-Lago club in charge of running the Department of Veteran Affairs despite having no relevant experience. In late 2018, the VA failed to send out benefits for months. Mar-a-Lago allies touted direct line to Trump, Kushner at VA.
Trump stopped checking for violations of the Military Lending Act making it easier for financial predators to take advantage of service members.
Trump refuses to hold regular National Security Council meetings except when there are specific issues at stake. But he has time to watch many hours of Fox News a day, and gold more than any other President in history. Not a big deal, except he lied when he said he wouldn’t have time for any golf.
Trump refuses to read his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB).
Trump has abdicated the Commander-in-Chief office. A departure from the president’s constitutional duty as commander-in-chief. The DOD now sets troop levels with no involvement from Trump.
Trump saluted a NK general.
Trump calls active duty generals “My Generals” and he says “my military”, and “my army”. They are not “his”, and that’s an insulting way to think of them. For the record, the judges he appoints are not “his judges”, and the judges appointed by Obama are not Obama’s judges as Trump said in Nov 2018.
He wanted an expensive dictator style parade despite the fact that our veterans need help.
He blocked VoteVets.org on Twitter because he did not want their input.
Trump waited nearly two weeks to remark on the death of four Special Forces soldiers in combat.
On Jul 18, 2015, McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
When John McCain died. Trump nixed the release of a statement honoring McCain’s legacy. After protests the American flags at the White House were set to half-staff. But returned to full-staff just a few hours later on Monday.
He said, “[I] always felt like I had been in the military” because of his time at the New York Military Academy.
He said, “[I am] so good at the military, it will make your head spin,”
He told the pregnant widow of a fallen Green Beret her late husband “knew what he signed up for.”
He said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.” Several months later, Trump added that U.S. military leaders “don’t know much because they’re not winning.” The reality is that Trump had no magical plan to get rid of ISIS in 30 days, and has simply continued Obama’s successful strategies. Which, by the way, are really the military’s strategies. Obama was just smart enough to listen to smart people.
Trump banned non-citizen legal permanent residents from joining the Army Reserve, a practice dating back to the Revolutionary War.
Trump talked about shooting an Army sergeant held captive by the Taliban for five years
Trump promises donations in public, then does not deliver unless it’s brought up publicly again.
Trump led a several month-long smear campaign against a Gold Star family.
Trump criticized active duty Generals, “Under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, I think the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing to our country.”
Trump threatened to fire active duty Generals, “[my generals will] probably be different generals, to be honest with you.”
Trump ridiculed combat veterans with PTSD saying, “[if] you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it”
Trump tried to kick veterans off of 5th Ave. In a letter to Bloomberg, “Whether they are veterans or not, they should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street,”