"Bunch of saps...Because they risk their lives for strangers."
"That's Pop talking."
- The Godfather 2
Good catch by Time magazine made man Matthew Cooper as he traced the roots of Donald "Oops, he did it again" Trump's attitude toward the military in a Tweet today. The president* has reportedly disparaged the intelligence of military folks, calling them 'losers' and 'suckers" and reportedly ordered disabled veterans banned from appearing in military parades.
Cooper's inspired Godfather reference amplified a Sept. 3 article in The Atlantic, written by the magazine's editor, Jeffrey Goldberg. Goldberg, who's wired in to the military establishment, started with a retelling of this story:
When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.
On the same trip, Goldberg writes, Trump reportedly asked why the U.S. had intervened in World War II and who the good guys were.
In hindsight, given the president's recent not-so-tacit permission for neo-Nazis and violent white supremacists, these comments take on a different complexion. (Definitely white.)
The article showed a man whose singleminded focus on money was matched only by his, er, weirdness.
Yet another, related, explanation concerns what appears to be Trump’s pathological fear of appearing to look like a “sucker” himself. His capacious definition of sucker includes those who lose their lives in service to their country, as well as those who are taken prisoner, or are wounded in battle. “He has a lot of fear,” one officer with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s views said. “He doesn’t see the heroism in fighting.” Several observers told me that Trump is deeply anxious about dying or being disfigured, and this worry manifests itself as disgust for those who have suffered.
On Twitter, veteran reporters Walter Shapiro and Karen Tumulty expressed shock at the president's comments. Ordinarily a president feels responsible for American soldiers, but as Donald Trump said about the pandemic that's killed nearly 200,000 Americans, he doesn't feel responsible for, well, anything.
- The Editors
* Taking our lead from the great Charles Pierce at Esquire, we affix an asterisk to the word president when applied to Donald Trump to indicate that something is, well, not quite right with the current occupant.
Loser ::: Beck
The Ballad of Honest Sam ::: Paul Siebel
Soldier’s Things :: Tom Waits
Money ::: James Blood Ulmer
Les Gars de Marine (Navy Guys) ::: The Comedian Harmonists
Soldier ::: Willis
I Love A Man In Uniform ::: Gang Of Four
Soldier Boy ::: The Shirelles
Yes Sir No Sir ::: The Kinks
Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife ::: PJ Harvey