With all his gung-ho ‘Make America Great Again” patriotism, there is one thing that we know about Donald Trump and that is that the man has absolutely no respect for our nation’s military. And Meghan McCain, Republican radio host and columnist, has had enough. Ms. McCain is also the daughter of former presidential candidate and war hero John McCain. Ms. McCain cut Trump down to size on Saturday, calling him a “barbarian,” and destroying Trump’s pettiness and disrespect with one simple tweet.
I would ask what kind of barbarian would attack the parents of a fallen soldier, but oh yeah it's the same person who attacks POW's.
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 31, 2016
For Ms. McCain, this unconscionable disrespect is personal. In July 2015 and older, Trump responded to a disagreement with her father, Sen. John McCain, in the lowest way possible, by criticizing him for his military service. Trump quipped:
‘He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.’
Sen. McCain spent five years as a prisoner of war in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” after his Navy plane was downed during the war in Vietnam. The senator was tortured during his internment, and spent two of the five years in solitary.
Trump has rightly been called out for his call to track American Muslims and prohibit those of that faith from immigrating to the U.S., despite clear constitutional requirements to keep matters of state and matters of church entirely separate. During the Democratic National Convention, the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 in the line of duty, challenged Trump to read the constitution and note that our deeply held 240-year law prohibits discrimination on the basis of faith and that it promises equal protection under the law.
On Sunday, the New York Times documents how Trump’s response to the bereaved parents of the decorated soldier has caused one of the biggest crises in his campaign for the presidency. Trump has responded to their grief with nothing but insult upon injury.
During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, Trump insinuated that the deceased captain’s mother did not speak during the convention because she was not “permitted to.”
‘His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.’
He then tried to divert the blame (as he usually does) to the question of Islamic terrorism.
‘We have had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism, that’s what I’d say. We have had a lot of problems where you look at San Bernardino, you look at Orlando, you look at the World Trade Center, you look at so many different things.’
Trump then proceeded to attack retired Marine, General John Allen, who also spoke at the Democratic National Convention, for failing to defeat ISIS.
It’s no surprise that even his own party is disgusted with his behavior. Once again, Donald Trump has misjudged the boundaries of decency by publicly attacking a bereaved military family who lost a beloved son to the war in Iraq. Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell and House Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan have both issued statements in defense of the Khans and their sacrifice. Ryan’s statement said:
‘Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice,’ Ryan continued. ‘Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice — and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan — should always be honored. Period.’
But of the many sides of Trump we’ve seen, his disrespect for the men and women who serve in our armed forces has been enduring. Last year, Trump promised to donate $1 million of his own fortune toward veterans’ charities, but then dodged out until he was pressured by the press to honor his agreement. Even then, the donation was made with money from his charitable foundation rather than out of his own pocket.
Trump also claimed that he worked to build a memorial for Vietnam veterans, but in truth, he only lent his name to the commission that was responsible for the actual work.
Trump himself received no less than four draft deferments during Vietnam, despite having attended a military prep school, New York Military Academy, before attending business college. Even after graduation, Trump managed to be disqualified for what appears to have been a very minor medical condition.
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