After almost two years in office, President Trump finally gritted his teeth and flew to meet our troops overseas. Given his repeated demonstrations of disrespect for the military in the past, the unprecedented delay was hardly surprising, but was no less inexcusable for that fact.
This is the same man whose father allegedly convinced a doctor to lie and claim his son had bone spurs so that Donald could avoid the Vietnam War draft. He has no appreciation for the men and women who put their lives on the line for the United States and the recent announcement that Secretary of Defense James Mattis would be resigning over Trump’s disastrous foreign policy is a sure sign that the armed forces have little respect for their commander in chief.
With these facts in mind, it’s hard to look at his sudden, surprise trip to the Middle East as anything more than a series of cynical photo-ops aimed at shoring up his rapidly unraveling international credibility. Now that facts about the trip are beginning to emerge, that seems to be precisely the case.
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Furthering a disturbing pattern, this president managed to disgrace himself both in what he did and didn’t do.
What Trump did was lie to the troops to pump himself up, claiming, “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.”
In fact, service members have gotten a pay raise in each of the last ten years ranging from one to 3.9 percent. This year’s 2.6 percent raise is no more an outlier than the president spouting purely groundless fiction to bolster his own myth.
Despite the shamelessness of Trump’s self-serving fallacy, his failure may have more tangible implications.
The Associated Press reports that Trump failed to meet with a single Iraqi official during his trip to the country, during which he spent a total of 3 hours on the ground. He spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Abdel Abdul-Mahdi via phone and they reviewed security issues as well as Trump’s much-maligned recent announcement that he will be pulling American troops out of Syria where there are battling ISIS.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to warm over the appearance of frosty tensions by announcing that Abdul-Mahdi had accepted an invitation to visit the White House in the coming year. But, the AP adds, the office of Iraq’s Prime Minister declined to say if he would accept Trump’s invitation. He invited Trump to visit Baghdad.
Abdul-Mahdi’s office added that “differences in points of view over the arrangements” stopped the two leaders from meeting in person during Trump’s meeting, which certainly sounds like the American president simply couldn’t be bothered to meet with his Iraqi counterpart on his terms. Either that, or Trump’s team was simply too incompetent to facilitate the meeting. Both explanations of the incident are troubling.
Clearly, Trump’s trip wasn’t intended to accomplish anything more than push back against the criticisms that he hasn’t visited the troops. A serious president would have met with the Iraqi prime minister, especially given Trump’s recent Syria blunder.
As USMC veteran and Editor-in-Chief of veteran’s website Task & Purpose Paul Szoldra pointed out on Twitter, the photos Trump took were odd. The soldiers posed with Trump in full battle gear despite the fact that were inside a mess hall.
Given their regular behavior, it’s conceivable that the administration requested the soldiers dress up for the photo-op, further underlining the fact that the president’s trip was nothing more than a reality television-style stun.
Why are these dudes wearing flak, kevlar, and NVG’s in the fucking chow hall pic.twitter.com/hgP89ZDchj
— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) December 26, 2018
Our armed services deserve better than Trump and the responsibility falls on every patriotic American to vote him out of office as soon as possible.