Saturday, April 22, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He congratulated a servicemember receiving the Purple Heart.

SFC Alvaro Barrientos was wounded in Afghanistan on March 17, and his right leg was amputated below the knee. He was recuperating at Walter Reed when Trump, on a tour of the facility, presented him with the Purple Heart, saying "Congratulations... tremendous, tremendous!" Trump's remarks lasted 12 seconds, after which he posed for photographs. Trump had pre-publicized the visit on Twitter, drawing a contrast with President Obama, whose presentations at Walter Reed were private ceremonies without press coverage.

Reaction to Trump's handling of what is normally a routine gesture of respect and appreciation has not been kind

This isn't the first time that Trump has spoken carelessly about the Purple Heart. When a supporter gave Trump a copy of his Purple Heart during the campaign, Trump immediately told a rally crowd that he'd "always wanted one" but that getting it as a gift was "easier." Trump, an athletic youth who was allegedly scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies, suffered from heel spurs that kept him safe from the Vietnam draft. (He has since recovered, although his baseball skills have declined somewhat.)

What's the problem with this?

  • This is too simple a job for a president to screw up.
  • Not everything a president does is an appropriate vehicle for publicity.
  • You make jokes about things you don't really take seriously.