Trump’s Hypocrisy On Treating Military With Respect On Full Display This Week

By on October 17, 2017

Donald Trump is a hypocritical president.

That isn’t under much dispute — for starters, most presidents, and indeed most humans, are hypocritical at various points of the week. It’s a condition that people simply have, and it’s not going to disappear with the election of a Democratic candidate in 2020 either.

But it’s plain to see that Trump takes hypocrisy to new levels. He condemns a Hollywood producer (who happens to be a Democratic donor) for sexual harassment when Trump himself has been caught on tape bragging about being as much. He goes on frequent golf outings after spending the better part of Barack Obama’s presidency deriding such trips. And Trump is on pace to having the highest rate of executive orders per year since Jimmy Carter, after again deriding his predecessor for using executive privilege (“the pen” as Trump calls it) to get things done.

Yet Trump’s latest act of hypocrisy is more subtle, and involves his recent comments on former presidents reaching out to families of soldiers killed in action. After a question about why he hadn’t yet publicly discussed how four American soldiers in Niger had been killed in the line of duty, Trump spun his answer into commentary meant to promote himself personally.

Trump said he had written letters to their families, and was planning to call them later in the week. “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls — a lot of them didn’t make calls — I like to make calls when it’s appropriate,” Trump added.

The comments themselves are not hypocritical — they’re just plain wrong. Obama frequently called and met in person with families who lost their sons and daughters who were serving in the U.S. military. Trump was rightly called out for his lie, which he backtracked on a small bit later on, saying that he was told that Obama and others didn’t make calls.

But if you missed the hypocrisy here, it’s OK — it’s subtle, and it doesn’t involve just this commentary, but several other statements that Trump has made in recent weeks.

On Twitter and in campaign speeches, Trump has railed against NFL players who have sat or kneeled during the national anthem. The silent protest is meant to bring light to an important issue, the mistreatment of people of color across the country, especially at the hands of some law enforcement agencies. Yet Trump has disregarded that message, and has called on NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” that kneels, stating his belief that the act is an affront to U.S. soldiers who have died protecting our freedoms.

However, Trump’s own words and actions have hardly been pro-soldier. He’s made huge promises to the military and their families in the past, such as promising to donate $1 million in January, only to have those promises go unfulfilled. And just this past week, Trump disrespectful spoke during a military ceremony that requires everyone within earshot to stop what they’re doing and pay silent respect.

During said ceremony, Trump playfully asked Sean Hannity (who was with him at the time), “Are they playing that for you or for me?”

“They’re playing that in honor of his ratings. He’s beating everybody,” Trump added, still during the ceremony.

The latest commentary from Trump regarding presidents who didn’t call families of fallen soldiers (again, besides being wrong) is similarly hypocritical. Trump is criticizing those presidents for not living up to his high standards, when it’s clear based on the past that his standards are hardly deserving of praise at all. Trump talks a good game about respecting the flag and those who died defending the freedoms it represents, but he does very little to show the same respect to those families and current servicemembers in the military.

In addition to being hypocritical, it is highly disrespectful. When Trump was asked earlier this week about if he had made contact with families, he instead took the opportunity to attack his predecessor. That’s using these tragic deaths to further a political point — a move that should be discouraged and frowned upon, regardless of who is the current president.