Tuesday, July 2, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lied about the military.

Trump took to Twitter this morning to insist that military leaders were "thrilled" to have been ordered to take part in his takeover of Washington, DC's local Fourth of July celebration.

In reality, American military leaders have seen this as an excuse for Trump to use them as political props, and are anything but "thrilled" about it. As the New York Times reported yesterday:

The president’s decision also reflects the divide between Mr. Trump and the forces at his command. Top military officials have expressed deep concern about letting the armed forces be used by the president to advance a political agenda, and earlier resisted his efforts for a military parade on Veterans Day. 
Pentagon officials have long been reluctant to parade tanks, missiles and other weapons through the nation’s capital like the authoritarian leaders of North Korea and China. They say the United States, which has the world’s most powerful military and spends more on defense than the seven next largest military spenders combined — China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, Britain and Germany — does not need to broadcast its strength.

As is often the case, it's not clear whether Trump understood what military leaders were telling him and is lying about it, or whether he simply couldn't or wouldn't understand what they were saying.

Regardless, the military's concerns about being used as a partisan prop appear to be justified. The Trump administration was caught distributing VIP tickets to the reserved seating area in front of his planned speech through the Republican National Committee and the Trump Campaign. A large area around the Lincoln Memorial and halfway through the area around the Reflecting Pool, normally open to the public for fireworks viewing, will be cordoned off for ticket holders.

Why should I care about this?

  • The United States military isn't a political prop.
  • Just because servicemembers can't openly contradict the president doesn't make it okay for the president to lie about them.