Trump concluded his summer vacation with a photo op in front of an Army division, and he could not resist disrespecting our troops right to their faces.
On Monday afternoon, Trump spoke to troops at Fort Drum in advance of a signing ceremony for the 2019 national defense authorization, which includes a 2.6 percent pay raise for the troops.
“We are proudly giving our troops the biggest pay increase in a decade,” Trump said. “I know you don’t want it because you’re very patriotic. You’ll say, just save the money. We’re going to pay down debt.”
Then Trump awkwardly launched into what perhaps was supposed to be a joke. Except the crowd didn’t seem to find it funny at all.
“Does anybody not want it? Please raise your hand,” Trump he said. After scanning the crowd, he added, “What’s going on here? Are these real patriots? I don’t know, General. I don’t know.”
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) August 14, 2018
Perhaps the “joke” would have gone over better if Trump had not avoided service himself during the Vietnam War, and later described his ability to avoid contracting an STD as his own “personal Vietnam.”
The soldiers might have been more receptive to Trump’s “humor” if he had visited troops in a combat zone even once during his first year-and-a-half in office.
Or if he did not constantly invoke the military to attack NFL players who protest police brutality during the national anthem — even though he himself doesn’t know the words to it.
Or if his brag that the 2.6 percent raise is the largest in the decade were not an outright lie. But as VoteVets pointed out, it is.
“We have troops and their families who are on Food Stamps,” the group tweeted. “But Donald Trump suggests real patriots would give a pay increase back. Also, President Obama raised military pay by 3.4% for 2010, [Trump]. So your ‘biggest in a decade’ claim is a lie.”
In fact, it was only after Republicans took control of Congress in the 2010 midterms that military pay raises dipped below 3 percent, and have remained there ever since.
Perhaps Trump should spend less time “joking” about our troops and questioning their patriotism, and more time showing them the respect they deserve.