Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault’s barrage of embarrassing stories about her time in the Trump administration shows no signs of letting up, as the Friday morning news cycle began with a truly bizarre anecdote that highlights both the President’s emotional immaturity and the disrespect he truly feels for our fighting men and women.
The Daily Beast is reporting that during the earliest days of the Trump administration, President Trump got into an absurd argument with a veterans’ group over what munitions were used during the infamous carpet bombing scene in Apocalypse Now.
During this White House meeting, certain details of which have not been previously reported, the president managed to again annoy and confuse U.S. war veterans, this time by getting into a bizarre, protracted argument with Vietnam War vets present about the movie Apocalypse Now and the herbicide Agent Orange.
“It was really fucking weird,” one attendee bluntly assessed to The Daily Beast.
The president had asked the assembled representatives of veterans’ groups what projects they were focused on. Rick Weidman, one of the co-founders of the Vietnam Veterans of America, asked the president if he would consider expanding the ability of Vietnam vets exposed to the deadly toxin Agent Orange to receive disability and survivor benefits.
The herbicide is known to cause over 14 diseases, but many affected vets still don’t get the proper care and benefits they deserve some forty-three years after the end of the war.
Trump told him that it was already “taken care of.” When Weidman protested, the president then derailed the conversation by asking if Agent Orange was “that stuff from the movie.”
When it became clear he was discussing the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now, they pointed out that the “stuff from the movie” was in fact napalm, as made clear by the iconic line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” but Trump refused to accept that answer and continued to argue with the veterans about it.
He then went around the room polling attendees about if it was, in fact, napalm or Agent Orange in the famous scene from “that movie,” as the gathering—organized to focus on important, sometimes life-or-death issues for veterans—descended into a pointless debate over Apocalypse Now that the president simply would not concede, despite all the available evidence.
Finally, Trump made eye contact again with Weidman and asked him if it was napalm or Agent Orange. The VVA co-founder assured Trump, as did several before him, that it was in fact napalm, and said that he didn’t like the Coppola film and believed it to be a disservice to Vietnam War veterans.
According to two people in attendance, Trump then flippantly replied to the Vietnam vet, “Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie,” before finally moving on.
This is not the first time that the President has gotten into weird arguments or clashes with veterans or their activist groups. Donald Trump waged a heartless feud against the widow of slain Green Beret La David Johnson, used the death of Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly’s son as a cudgel to attack President Obama with, famously dodged a meeting with veterans by sending Omarosa to meet with them instead, and slandered the parents of an Iraq War hero because they were Muslim.
There’s also the time he tried to get veteran vendors kicked off of New York’s 5th Avenue because they were “unsightly,” or the time he skipped a FOX News debate to hold a “fundraiser” for veterans and then had to be bullied by the media into actually paying out the money.
While the president publicly worships our veterans as part of his patriotic minstrel show for all of his hooting and baying fans, he’s made it clear time and time again that he couldn’t care less for their sacrifices beyond their own political utility to him and his ambitions.