Today as I left Walmart, a homeless man with a sign, "Homeless Vet. Help me feed my Kids" was standing in the drenching rain hoping for the kindness and generosity of motorists passing by.
I rolled down the window, motioned to him and handed him what little cash I had, noticing his dirty cracked fingers as he reached for the money. "God bless you," he said quietly. "God bless."
In this country, where there is such abundance, how can this be allowed to happen? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), some 38,000 veterans are without stable housing.
While that number is a 5 percent improvement over last year, it is still 38,000 too many. No man or woman who has served our country should ever have to stand on a corner and beg for money for survival.
That is simply a crime.
Yet, we have a president who does nothing but lie when it comes to our veterans. He had the gall to stand before troops at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on Wednesday and brag about a non-existent 10% pay raise that he claimed to have given them. It was a flat-out lie. He stood there and simply lied to our troops. Not sure if that was before or after he signed their MAGA hats.
TRUMP: “You just got one of the biggest pay raises you ever received. Unless you don’t want it. Does anybody here? Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? I don’t see too many hands. Ah, OK. don’t give it up. It’s great. You know what? Nobody deserves it more. You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
Here's what the AP fact checkers had to say:
U.S. military members have gotten a pay raise every year for decades. As well, several in the last 10 years have been larger than service members are getting now – 2.4 percent this year and 2.6 percent in 2019. Raises in 2008, 2009 and 2010, for example, were all 3.4 percent or more.
(Note: President OBAMA was in office in those years.)
Pay increases shrank during the following years as the administration struggled with congressionally mandated budget caps. Trump, aided by congressional action, did reverse the subsequent six-year trend that began in 2011 of pay raises that hovered between 1 and 2 percent. In 2017, service members got a 2.1 percent raise.
In January, they received a 2.4% increase -- a far cry from the 10% claimed by Trump. But what would you expect from a politician who does nothing but lie. It's been his history, even his explanation about having deferments from the draft due to bone spurs. Turns out his big shot, wealthy daddy talked the doc into signing off on those bone spurs as a personal favor. They never happened.
So, how could we expect such a lily-livered draft dodger to really care about the men and women who actually risk their lives in the service of our nation? For all his bluster, for all his calling them heroes, he's nothing but BS when it comes to actually helping our vets -- like the one who was begging for money in the rain today outside of Walmart today.
Which brings me to the retired Marine whose car I followed into that same Walmart parking lot. It had SemperFi and USMC stickers on the back. But it also had a Trump 2020 sticker in the window. I wanted to stop him and thank him for his service. But then I would have had to ask him, "WTF are you thinking?"
So, I didn't.