On Thanksgiving, Donald Trump took time off from taking time off at Mar-a-Lago, and secretly flew to a U.S. military base on Afghanistan for a photo op with the troops stationed there. It scored him a round of positive headlines, all of which will be forgotten by the end of the weekend, if not the end of the day. But the real story here is what prompted Trump to have to make this trip at all.
Let’s be clear here: Donald Trump absolutely did not want to make this trip. He almost never visits the troops, and certainly not in combat regions. You can blame it on cowardice, laziness, lack of interest, or all of the above. But the reality is that this guy doesn’t like doing these kinds of things. He doesn’t even like being president. He spends most of his time in bed watching Fox News, or golfing, or hiding out at Mar-a-Lago. So why did he take this surprise last-minute trip?
Trump just crapped all over the military in every way possible. He overturned the military justice system’s handling of convicted war criminal Eddie Gallagher, because Gallagher’s lawyer also happens to work for the Trump Organization. When Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer refused to do Trump’s corrupt bidding, Trump fired him.
Donald Trump has managed to do something that is usually near-impossible for a Republican president: he’s alienating the military. He must know it too, because his handlers managed to convince him to fly halfway around the world and pretend to care about U.S. troops while using them as a political prop. As a reminder, these troops had to play along with his stunt. We can’t imagine all of them wanted the psychotic traitor in their midst.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report