Trump Versus the Military — I Just Don’t Get It.


This week Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the three U.S. soldiers who were killed in an Iran-sponsored attack in Jordan. Here’s what he had to say, as cited in the newsletter from historian Heather Cox Richardson.

“At a press conference today with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke of the three lost soldiers, the many wounded, and their family and friends. ‘Every day we have our men and women in uniform around the world who are putting their lives on the line for our security, for our freedom,’ he said. ‘I am as always humbled by their courage and their sacrifice.’”

Blinken’s words were decent and right, and I am quite sure he was sincere in what he said.

Contrast this with what then President Trump said about those who serve in the military according to Gen. John Kelly (ret.) who served as Trump’s Chief of Staff in the White House. Kelly described Trump as . . .

“A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them.’ A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family – for all Gold Star families – on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.

“A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women,” Kelly continued. “A person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about. A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action. A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.

“There is nothing more that can be said,” Kelly concluded. “God help us.”

Trump again disparaged John McCain for his service in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary last week. The CNN article that quoted Kelly, above, also added the following:

“Those details also include Trump’s inability to understand why the American public respects former prisoners of war and those shot down in combat. Then-candidate Trump of course said in front of a crowd in 2015 that former Vietnam POW Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, was ‘not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.’ But behind closed doors, sources told Goldberg, this lack of understanding went on to cause Trump to repeatedly call McCain a ‘loser’ and to refer to former President George H. W. Bush, who was also shot down as a Navy pilot in World War II, as a ‘loser.’”

What don’t I get? How anyone can think Trump — or anyone who says such things or holds such views — is fit to return to office as President and Commander-in-Chief. I mean I really don’t get it.

Anthony B. Robinson
Anthony B. Robinson
Tony is a writer, teacher, speaker and ordained minister (United Church of Christ). He served as Senior Minister of Seattle’s Plymouth Congregational Church for fourteen years. His newest book is Useful Wisdom: Letters to Young (and not so young) Ministers. He divides his time between Seattle and a cabin in Wallowa County of northeastern Oregon. If you’d like to know more or receive his regular blogs in your email, go to his site listed above to sign-up.


  1. Donald Trump is the biggest loser of all. The life he has devoted to self-serving ends, aggrandizing his already swollen ego, insulting the memory of dead soldiers, viciously attacking those who fail to fall on their knees before him, amounts to that of a dead, empty soul. He would take the country down with him if we let him. Also those of the MAGA crowd who mindlessly cheer every vile word out of Trump’s mouth are pathetic cultists. They are rhapsotic at his suggestion that he would like be America’s first dictator who can hardly wait to declare martial law to snuff any sign of opposition from any quarter. As Gen. Kelly has said, “God help us.”

  2. Richard Clever has said it all and I can only add “amen.” I just would like to have some trumper explain how or why they could think otherwise. Don’t say he did good things for our country. Perhaps the can list them for me.

  3. When trying to understand those people, it can be interesting to ask what might be their good points, as individuals, if there’s any generalization that makes sense. In my rather limited experience with right wing types – not including libertarians, who seem simply defective to me – one of the signal virtues one may find among right wing types is loyalty.

    To me that explains something about the Trump thing – it would be really mortifying and perhaps impossible for many of them to admit that what the other side is saying about Trump is at all true and he’s a rascal – betrayal of their side, betrayal of someone they’ve enlisted with, betrayal to a whole imaginary landscape of enemies that are out to destroy our way of life etc.

    But here we are, looking at the formal archetype of loyalty, to the nation in the service of the national armed forces. Where does our right wing patriot stand? That too, will belong to the other side? Has it come to that, this evil faction has managed to peel off a segment of what used to be our society and made them effectively enemies of the state, led by an enemy of the state? Will they keep going out over this chasm, supported by a fabric of balderdash and confusion until it gives way and they go down, dragging the rest along? If I may add, it’s sunny and warm this morning here in Portugal.

  4. As a disabled veteran l watch in horror at other veterans standing in crowds prominently showing support for an utterly worthless anti American bigot smear those of us who endangered our lies so he could reward us with contempt. In Scotland they describe him very well as a cockwomble. Here he is the real RINO. For those of who served and the six million he murdered with the pandemic I hope and pray his end comes soon.

  5. I’m still trying to understand why people trust this man a coward that in his younger year he made excuses not to serve in the military and now he proclaims he is a patriot all what he is a manipulator, all he cares about himself but soon or later everyone pays in life

  6. Gold Star family. Both Paternal and Maternal sides. I can not believe any veteran or vet family would consider voting for DJT. Of course I said the same thing about having a college degree would exclude DJT from any consideration. Even a high school education would have some civics, US/World Civ that would explain the difference of the Rule of Law and the Rule of Man—much less the concept of Devine RIghts of Kings I thought would have been directly disproven by the Founders and the followers of a written constituion. Not having titles of Nobility must be an issue for many on the far right who desire Devine Intervention.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments Policy

Please be respectful. No personal attacks. Your comment should add something to the topic discussion or it will not be published. All comments are reviewed before being published. Comments are the opinions of their contributors and not those of Post alley or its editors.