Back in September when a report emerged about a shakedown of Ukraine that got him impeached in December, I asked supporters of Donald Trump:
“Did the man you helped elect sound like someone who asked the president of a foreign country to investigate the son of a political opponent?
“Ah, hah, you nodded your head. Ever so slightly, you did.”
Did the man you helped elect sound like someone who would have called World War I dead on France’s fields “losers” and “suckers”?
You nodded your head. Every so slightly, you did.
Why? Because you’ve heard what else Trump has said. Even those (many) times when you clapped your hands over your ears so as not to hear what Trump said.
You heard him call John McCain a “loser.” You heard him say, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
That’s why when The Atlantic cites four sources to report Trump used “losers” to refer to other war heroes, deniability is less than plausible.
The Atlantic also reported that when Trump ordered a military parade he said he wanted no wounded veterans in it, because “no one wants to see that.”
Trump supporters, I saw you nod. You know the horse to which you hitched your party. It’s the show horse of the “Access Hollywood” tape, the finagler of “catch and kill” with the National Enquirer. That dude.
You know exactly what you were getting. What The Atlantic reports is completely in keeping with what we already knew.
Some have expressed buyer’s remorse, including a lot of men and women in the military.
A recent poll released by Military Times finds that only 38 percent of active-duty military have a positive view of Trump, and that Biden holds a 4 percent lead among them – a voting bloc that historically has supported Republicans, as it did in 2016.
Who knows when things changed?
Was it when, having been refused by Congress, Trump declared a faux emergency to build a border wall, taking $2.5 billion from the military and plunging it into that dirt?
Was it when Trump sent 5,200 troops to the border after he and Fox News trumpeted the advance of a Central American caravan? (Oddly, the peril seemed to vanish right after the 2018 midterms.)
Maybe it was when he decided that instead of serving their country, active-duty personnel and their hardware should serve his ego with that grand, amputee-free military parade costing $5.4 million?
Maybe it was when Trump not only dismissed concerns about reported Russian bounties on troops but didn’t bring up the matter in multiple phone calls with Vladimir Putin.
Maybe active-duty military personnel were as offended as Mattis was when the White House used active-duty personnel to suppress peaceful protesters near a church to enable a Bible-held photo-op.
Maybe was when, after seeing our military used against our own citizens, four-star Gen. Jim Mattis called Trump “a threat to the Constitution.”
Whatever the case, more military personnel agree now with retired Rear Admiral William McRaven, the commander of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, who said Trump has “humiliated us on the world stage.”
More agree with Colin Powell, who has called Trump a pawn of despots.
All are solid character references from highly regarded military leaders to understand why so many enlisted people hate Donald Trump.
Oh, we heard Sarah Sanders defend him. We heard Mike Pompeo defend him. Their words would be credible if any of Trump’s enablers had any more credibility than he.
The point is, even if Trump didn’t call war dead “losers,” our military has been listening to what else he’s said, and it sees what he’s done.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.