Friday, September 13, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He claimed to have helped the military, but got called out by his own Air Force.

In what looks like an attempt to mount a pre-emptive defense against impeachment, Trump tweeted out a number of reasons why he shouldn't be impeached. (His central argument was that a president can't be impeached as long as he's doing a "good (great!) job.") None Trump's claims had to do with his actual innocence of the various potential charges, and most of them were false anyway.

One particular claim—that he had "rebuilt [the] military"—was fact-checked by the United States Air Force. In a report that came into public view today, an Air Force review panel concluded that Trump's raiding of the Defense Department budget to build or replace border fencing is creating risks to national security.

Trump has effectively cancelled 127 military projects in order to finally make some progress on the wall he campaigned on (although obviously not the part about Mexico paying for it). Some of them, like construction or renovation of nine base schools, will only affect the quality of life for the families of servicemembers. Others, like replacing the malfunctioning boiler needed to keep an Alaska airbase habitable in winter, will directly affect military performance. And some, like shoring up security at a military base in Turkey, directly threaten servicemembers' safety.

The Air Force is not the only branch to object to Trump's attempts to make his political problem a military problem. In March, the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, warned that deploying Marines to the U.S.-Mexico border would pose an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency."

So what?

  • The lives and safety of American military forces are more important than Donald Trump's political problems.
  • Congress, not the president, decides whether or not the president should be impeached.