We all know how much Donald Trump loves the military. When he’s not referring to them as “my generals” or using them as props in appearances, he claims that any opposition to his plans about almost anything comes at the expense of the military.
He even managed to transform “taking a knee” by NFL players who protested excessive police violence against blacks into disrespect for the military.
Now Trump wants a huge military parade down the streets of Washington, DC, ostensibly to “honor” the military, so the Pentagon is drafting options for such a parade. Michael Mulvaney, chief of the Office of Management and Budget, just estimated the cost at between $10 million and $30 million, admitting that he has no idea where the money would come from.
Let’s get this straight. Trump wants to spend up to $30 million on a one-day event at a time when he claims the military is badly underfunded and undermanned. It will fall on the military to plan and implement this parade, meaning months of marching by troops who could otherwise be in training or even resting from serving on the front lines.
It will require moving heavy equipment to DC (where it will tear up the pavement), meaning more time and effort siphoned from real military activities. It’s like a family deciding they’ll honor their mother with a big party and then expect her to plan it, do all the cooking and serving, and clean up afterward, using money that could be spent on a new vacuum, a vacation, or long-term health care.
More importantly, the recently-released Trump budget includes drastic cuts in programs for the poor, job training programs, Medicare, Medicaid, the environment. So we’re taking food out of the mouths of children and the destitute so Trump can bask in the glory of “his” troops marching past as he gives them his best military school salute.
Trump’s love of the military didn’t extend to actually serving in the armed forces. He received five deferments, including the last one for minor bone spurs, to keep him out of Vietnam. He later joked that avoiding STDs in New York’s club scene was his personal Vietnam.
While campaigning, a supporter gave Trump his Purple Heart earned on the battlefield. Trump thanked him by grinning that he always wanted a Purple Heart and this was a much easier way to get one.
How many times has Trump visited troops in Afghanistan or Iraq or any combat area since becoming president? Zero. Trump has visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a few miles from the White House, twice – in April and in a Christmas visit in December. Barak Obama paid some 24 visits. In the early days when there were many more wounded, he often spent hours there and, by all accounts, was deeply moved.
Who’s the empty barrel now?
Talk is cheap, but in Trump's case, it really isn't.
Cecelia Blalock, a regular contributor to Not Fake News, is a freelance business journalist based in Savage, MD.