President Donald Trump, who recently told a crowd at the conservative student organization Turning Point USA’s national summit that he’s “never understood wind,” would like members of the military to be reassured by his leadership heading into Christmas this week. This Tuesday, on Christmas Eve, he participated in a video conference with members of military branches including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, to whom he touted new developments like the military pay raise he recently signed into law. He did not focus on issues like his apparent complete dismissal of any credibility to the threat of North Korea’s military, his recent creation of a Space Force for the heck of it, and other volatile developments.
Neither did he apparently focus on his earnest embrace of violence in war like that perpetrated by the now retired Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who — among other atrocities — posed with the body of a murdered ISIS fighter for a photograph and reportedly shot at random, unarmed civilians overseas. Trump recently hosted Gallagher at Mar-a-Lago, where he’s spending the holidays this week. The president’s intervention in Gallagher’s case, including his demand that Gallagher keep his rank, prompted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to resign and left the many other service members ignored who have worked to uphold standards in their duties.
Nope, instead of covering these issues, Trump simply told the troops:
‘I want to wish you an amazing Christmas and a happy New Year. You are tremendous warriors and we appreciate it so much. Because of your brave and selfless service, Americans can celebrate Christmas in safety and in peace. We all appreciate you so much… I think we’re poised for tremendous success in the United States, and enjoy that new equipment we’re getting you. It’s made in the U.S.A. — every bit of it.”’
An Army soldier speaking from Kuwait asked Trump what he got First Lady Melania Trump for Christmas, and the president’s answer felt awkward to those who don’t have to desperately try and make up for some kind of massive personal gaps when pressured in public. He said:
‘I got her a beautiful card… A lot of love. We love our family, and we love each other. We’ve had a great relationship, hopefully like you do with your spouses. I’m still working on a Christmas present. There’s a little time left. Not much, but there’s a little time left.’
The response mirrors the occasion when Trump spent the morning of Melania’s birthday delivering an extended rant on Fox News.
Trump has long tried to tout himself as a defender of the military and its might, although he’s freely denigrated some of its prominent members when it’s suited him politically.
For example, he harshly criticized both the late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War, and the family of the late Army Captain Humayun Khan, whose parents publicly questioned Trump’s fitness for office. Separately, he has taken steps like a recent surprise visit to troops overseas on Thanksgiving.