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Boardman writes: "The issue is a matter of honoring the sacrifice of the dead, not one of how hard a job that might be for the commander who got them killed. Well, that used to be the issue, but now we have a president who wants us to focus our sympathy on himself, a man who never saw combat, a man who never served in the military, but a man who serves up gobs of public self-pity for how hard it is for him to make a few phone calls. This is Trumplandia."

Myeshia Johnson meets the body of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who died from wounds sustained during enemy contact in Niger. (photo: ABC)
Myeshia Johnson meets the body of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who died from wounds sustained during enemy contact in Niger. (photo: ABC)


Trump's Disrespect for Troops, Another Emotional Dead End

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

18 October 17

 

I felt very, very badly about that. I always feel badly. The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens. Soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing. Now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day. It’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest.

ffering official, token comfort to the families of fallen American soldiers has been a virtually reflexive ritual since George Washington, and rightly so. The dead are men and women who gave their brief lives for belief in the country, even when their government let them die for a lie or a fraud. The issue is a matter of honoring the sacrifice of the dead, not one of how hard a job that might be for the commander who got them killed. Well, that used to be the issue, but now we have a president who wants us to focus our sympathy on himself, a man who never saw combat, a man who never served in the military, but a man who serves up gobs of public self-pity for how hard it is for him to make a few phone calls. This is Trumplandia.

When a reporter asked him on October 16 why he had not talked publicly about the October 4 ambush in Niger that killed four American soldiers, Trump responded with some of his standard techniques: he didn’t answer the question, he changed the subject, and he lied. Trump lied about President Obama and others, saying they didn’t call, or didn’t call as much as he does, or didn’t call General Kelly. The pushback was immediate (except from General Kelly), with one former Obama aide calling the statement a “fucking lie” and Trump a “deranged animal.” Now the story has legs and continues to grow as reporters motivated by the president’s disrespect go out of their way to tell true stories to impeach the president’s credibility. Turns out Trump has reached out to something like half of the families of the soldiers killed so far on his watch, and some of those interactions have not gone so well.

The four soldiers killed in Niger were all sergeants: La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida; Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Jeremiah Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia. As of October 18, Trump had apparently called only one of these four families, with disastrous results.

Trump called the pregnant widow and mother of two, Myeshia Johnson, as she was riding in a car to meet the plane carrying her husband’s flag-draped casket. Unfortunately for the president, his call was on speakerphone and there were witnesses, including her two children, Sgt. Johnson’s mother, and their congresswoman, Frederica S. Wilson. Rep. Wilson later criticized Trump for his insensitivity, never using the sergeant’s name, just calling him “your guy” over and over, and telling Mrs. Johnson, “Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt."

Trump responded by lying in a tweet, saying Rep. Wilson fabricated the conversation. He also lied saying, “I have proof.” Then Sgt. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson confirmed that Trump had said that Sgt. Johnson “must have known what he signed up for.” But Trump kept on lying, joined by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

All this has inflamed the already fevered speculation about Trump’s mental state, awareness of reality, fitness to serve, and of course the helplessness of almost anyone to do anything about it. As one commenter put it, “Trump’s Obama-bashing was so gratuitous — if this was a hockey game he’d get a penalty.”

Others focused on why Trump was silent about the Niger ambush fatalities for twelve days and only sort of addressed them when a reporter asked about them. One suggestion was that Trump thought that Niger was in Puerto Rico and the soldiers were Puerto Ricans. Other in and out of the White House offered a variety of speculations, not always with complete seriousness, that Trump took 12 days to offer any condolences because:

  • He thought that was the Islamic mourning period

  • They were on a training mission, so how could they get killed?

  • Two of the four are Blacks

  • They were only sergeants

  • They’re not voters anymore

  • Acknowledging his betters is anathema

  • Four is a lot of calls for 1 guy to make

  • He wanted to wait 3 days for each

  • Bad staff work

  • Ivanka was trying to decide what dresses to send the widows

  • He was waiting for a re-supply of paper towels

  • That’s not what he signed up for

So far, the White House has yet to offer a credible explanation for the 12-day Presidential Blackout, although there has been some attempt to use “bad staff work,” suggesting that they were slow over at the Pentagon. Some have pointed out in Trump’s defense that this incident is better than when the draft dodger criticized Sen. John McCain for getting captured, but that argument carries the implication that Trump is saying “at least these guys got killed” or some such thing. Not that you’d ever see him meeting a military coffin at Dover Air Force Base

Obviously no one can know what’s in Trump’s mind, perhaps not even the president himself. Until more compelling evidence is available, the best explanation for this episode and all the other White House oddities, high crimes, and misdemeanors is that Trump never really had any idea what he was signing up for.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


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-38 # skylinefirepest 2017-10-19 15:39
Oh yeah, you're being disrespectful to trump...not obumma, as I originally thought when I remembered a man who disdained our military, never served, and had nothing good to say about those who gave their lives in the service of our country. Give it up Boardman...your petty bullshit is showing your own feelings!
 
 
+5 # WBoardman 2017-10-20 10:13
skylinefirepest testifies to having trouble reading
starting with the first word of the headline.

Obama never served, that is true, Trump and Clinton were
draft dodgers, and Bush went AWOL.

Obama praised the military ofter.
To say otherwise is dishonest of incompetent.
His 2012 Inaugural is easily found.

https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/ken-walshs-washington/2012/01/25/obama-praises-military-in-state-of-the-union

The snark and ad hominem attacks are not
arguments or evidence.
 
 
+18 # giraffee23 2017-10-19 16:12
Wait - Orange cries about the NFL players not respecting the flag (kneeling) - in spite of the FACT their posture is NOT about the flag -- and then screws this up with self pity. WHY DO WE GIVE HIM A PASS ON EVERYTHING? disgusted
 
 
+22 # randrjwr 2017-10-19 16:30
Empathy-wise, "He knew what he signed up for" is right up there with telling Puerto Ricans they had just "blown a hole" in the US budget and they got off easy, compared to Katrina's wrath.

No empathy, no decency. "Sad" isn't nearly strong enough a word.
 
 
+5 # futhark 2017-10-19 20:59
randrjwr, you have nailed the problem. Donald Trump is a man without empathy. I suspect he may be totally incapable of putting himself in another person's place in his imagination and trying to feel what that person's experience must be. We have seen this developmental aberration time after time in contexts related to his sexual harassment habits and his negative reaction to government support for education and medical insurance.

Mr. Trump is happy within his own skin and seems not to understand there is any value projecting beyond that experience. This developmental abnormality is significant enough for lay persons to have noticed, some calling him a "man baby" on account of it.
 
 
0 # itchyvet 2017-10-25 01:37
Quoting randrjwr:
Empathy-wise, "He knew what he signed up for" is right up there with telling Puerto Ricans they had just "blown a hole" in the US budget and they got off easy, compared to Katrina's wrath.

No empathy, no decency. "Sad" isn't nearly strong enough a word.

Sorry randrjwr, but the FACTS are that every military individual KNOWS the risks to their life, once they sign on the dotted line. IMHO, anyone in the U.S. military, especially ones in the lower ranks, should not marry or have children until their time in the military is up. As a veteran myself for 6 years, I did exactly that. I had no intentions of leaving a widow or fatherless children behind, to do so, is the highest selfishness I could imagine.
This episode is nothing but a beat up of Trump by the media, who should hang their heads in shame, for disrespecting the widows grief and trying time, by hanging out on the World stage her loss. Shame on them all.
 
 
+14 # angelfish 2017-10-19 17:38
I would refer to Trump as a Pig, however, he's an Insult to Pigs and ALL other living Beings! IMPEACH this Dolt before he destroys us COMPLETELY! Resist! Rebel! RePudiate! but First and foremost, IMPEACH them ALL NOW!
 
 
+9 # elizabethblock 2017-10-19 20:01
I agree that Trump didn't know what he signed up for. He still doesn't know. He doesn't know that he doesn't know. And he doesn't care.
 
 
+9 # Texas Aggie 2017-10-19 23:51
Forget the way the SOB behaves toward the military and these soldiers in particular. Hammer away on why he is refusing to answer the questions about why and how this happened. Put him under the spotlight and interrogate him about the incident itself until he cracks. He went off on this tangent solely as a cover up of something to do with the ambush and we need to know what he is trying to hide.
 
 
+1 # Rcomm 2017-10-20 12:33
I'm certain all calls made by potus are recorded. Release the recording to the media. Problem solved.
 
 
+2 # WBoardman 2017-10-21 18:48
White House says there's no recording.

If there was a recording,
releasing it might not solve the problem for Trump.

Might just make it worse.

So far, Trump os the ONLY witness to say
the call wasn't what other witnesses said it was.

Even Kelly didn't argue that.
 

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