By Robert A. Vella
The breaking news that hit late yesterday shouldn’t be surprising. We already knew that Donald Trump is pathologically narcissistic and sociopathic. We already knew that he isn’t mentally competent enough to serve as President of the United States. We already knew that he is ethically and intellectually unfit to fulfill the tremendous responsibilities tasked to the Command-in-Chief of the U.S. military. But, the majority of Americans probably didn’t know that Trump is also a traitor to his own country. If they didn’t know that, they do now.
No presidential election hinges on just one incident. A complex mix of factors determines the outcome. However, a single momentous event can have great impact if it ignites latent sentiments in the populace. There are many such examples which either transpired legitimately, illegitimately, or accidentally. Gerald Ford’s pardoning of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech, George H. W. Bush’s “read my lips” proclamation, and the Republican swift-boating of Democratic candidate John Kerry, all doomed presidents or presidential hopefuls.
For President Trump, whose reelection campaign was already in deep trouble, the story that broke Thursday by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic (and confirmed by multiple sources) might be enough to seal his fate. Suspicions that Trump is unpatriotic and possibly treasonous have been brewing in the American psyche for at least four years. His behavior as president is consistent with serving the interests of foreign authoritarian powers (e.g. Russia and Saudi Arabia) and runs contrary to those of the United States and its traditional democratic allies (e.g. the European Union). For Trump’s rabid base, this poses no problem. But, for the majority of the country, it is simply unforgivable; and, that is one of the reasons why Trump’s opponent Joe Biden is garnering so much support from Republicans.
There is another aspect of this story which demands mentioning. Unpatriotic behavior has been evident in Trump’s family since his paternal grandfather was forced to leave Germany in the late 19th century (more on that later). Coincidence? You tell me. This is what Donald’s niece Mary had to say after Goldberg’s story was published:
From: Mary Trump: ‘Trump Has Shown Himself To Be Nothing But An Anti-American, Anti-Military Traitor’ [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
President Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, ripped into her uncle on Thursday following a report in The Atlantic claiming that the president called Americans killed in war “losers” and “suckers.”
“Anybody who is surprised by Donald’s comments is once again letting him off the hook when he time after time demonstrated himself to be nothing but an anti-American anti-military traitor to this country,” Mary Trump said in a statement to MSNBC on Thursday.
President Donald Trump on Thursday vehemently disputed a report that alleged he criticized U.S. service members on multiple occasions, including asking that disabled veterans be excluded from military parades and referring to American war dead as “losers.”
The Atlantic said it stands by its reporting.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized the president in a statement.
“If the revelations in today’s Atlantic article are true, then they are yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States,” Biden said. “I have long said that, as a nation, we have many obligations, but we only have one truly saved obligation — to prepare and equip those we send into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families.”
Trump has publicly criticized military heroes in the past, including the late Sen. John McCain, who was tortured in a North Vietnamese prison camp after his Navy plane was shot down during a bombing mission in the Vietnam War.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in July 2015. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
After McCain’s death in Aug. 2018, The Atlantic reported Trump, who was not invited to the Arizona senator’s memorial service, was angered when flags were lowered to half-staff and told senior staff members, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral.”
From: Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ – The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic. [notation by The Secular Jurist]
Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies [Note: Trump’s family immigrated from Germany after his grandfather Frederick Trump lost his Bavarian citizenship for not fulfilling his mandatory military service].
Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved since he became president. According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.)
When lashing out at critics, Trump often reaches for illogical and corrosive insults, and members of the Bush family have publicly opposed him. But his cynicism about service and heroism extends even to the World War I dead buried outside Paris—people who were killed more than a quarter century before he was born. Trump finds the notion of military service difficult to understand, and the idea of volunteering to serve especially incomprehensible. (The president did not serve in the military; he received a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War because of the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet. In the 1990s, Trump said his efforts to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases constituted his “personal Vietnam.”)
On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.
“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”
An intelligence bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security warns that Russia is attempting to sow doubt about the integrity of the 2020 elections by amplifying false claims related to mail-in voting resulting in widespread fraud, assertions that have been repeatedly pushed by President Donald Trump, according documents obtained by CNN.
“We assess that Russia is likely to continue amplifying criticisms of vote-by-mail and shifting voting processes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine public trust in the electoral process,” the bulletin, first reported by ABC News, reads.
The news comes one day after Attorney General Bill Barr condemned states for encouraging mail-in voting in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Barr also downplayed Russia’s well-documented attempts to help Trump in presidential elections, including in this election cycle, instead pointing the finger at China despite the fact intelligence agencies have not said Beijing is actively meddling in the election.
The revelation adds to the well-documented body of evidence that Russia is again interfering in a US presidential election, and also clearly indicates Moscow is tailoring its messaging to amplify false narratives that benefit the Trump campaign.