President Donald Trump / REUTERS

Veterans Slam Trump

President Donald Trump has been largely criticized by veterans on social media for a number of incidents this week, from the exploitation of a Navy SEAL’s widow to the insinuation that military members don’t fight to win.


Trump Wears Flight Jacket

On Thursday while touring the new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, Trump made a speech to the crew. The crew gave Trump a personalized flight jacket and admiral’s hat that say “POTUS 45” on the back. While the items were a gift, veterans on social media were not happy with the president’s decision to wear them.

Some pointed out that Trump himself dodged the draft on numerous occasions.

According to a New York Times report, despite a seemingly unblemished health record, Trump obtained a medical deferment and four additional deferments for education.

“He stood 6 feet 2 inches with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10,” according to the New York Times. “But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels.”

The diagnosis, the Times said, exempted him from military service that about 300,000 men did undergo.

According to the Times, Trump “also asserted that it was ‘ultimately’ the luck of a high draft lottery number rather than the medical deferment that kept him out of the war. But his Selective Service records, obtained from the National Archives, suggest otherwise.”

Trump ‘Exploited’ Fallen Navy SEAL’s Widow

On Tuesday, Trump made his address to Congress. During this speech he addressed the wife of a fallen Navy SEAL. Carryn Owens lost her husband, Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, in January during a covert mission in Yemen.

Trump’s rhetoric was widely praised on social media and by news commentators alike, but some veterans interpreted it differently. The president’s speech said, in part:

“We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens. Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero battling against terrorism and securing our nation.

“I just spoke to our great Gen. Mattis just now, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, ‘Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.’ Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you.”

Trump’s words were met with significant applause, and the camera showed the grieving widow in tears. Then, referring to the booming applause, Trump said:

“Ryan is looking down right now, you know that, and he is very happy because I think he just broke a record.”

CNN’s Van Jones, a longtime critic of the president, called the speech “one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics” and went so far as to say, “He became President of the United States in that moment, period.”

But not everyone agreed with Jones’ assessment.

Brandon Friedman, former deputy assistant secretary for public affairs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and who served in the United States Army, posted two screenshots of his Twitter feed, which shows how the media praised Trump’s speech and how veterans criticized it.

Veterans called it “exploitation,” “the worst,” “wrong” and “using death for political gain.”

People also pointed out that Trump’s assessment of the mission as “successful” was not entirely true. Sen. John McCain called the raid “a failure.”

Bill Owens, the father of Ryan Owens who has criticized the president on numerous occasions and refuses to meet with him, questioned why his son was sent there in the first place.

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into [President Trump’s] administration” he questioned. “For two years prior … everything was missiles and drones [in Yemen]. Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display”

According to NBC News, the Trump team seemed to make the decision hastily:

“‘Certainly the Obama administration, particularly by the end of its eight-year run, was very cautious in moving forward with any kind of military activity,’ retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO commander and current NBC News security analyst, said. ‘A new administration I think naturally is going to be spring-loaded to move out and demonstrate something.'”

Meanwhile, the president refused to take responsibility for giving the okay to conduct the raid. On Tuesday morning he told Fox News that the mission “was started before” he took office.

But in a series of tweets Colin Kahl, who served as a national security adviser for former Vice President Joe Biden, revealed that former President Barack Obama did not approve this specific raid.

As Business Insider points out, not all veterans felt Trump’s speech was exploitive. Some found the words moving, with others saying the speech made them feel proud.

‘We Have to Start Winning Wars Again’

However, another comment on Monday that was perhaps overshadowed by Tuesday’s Congressional address also sparked some outrage among veterans. In an address to governors regarding military budget Trump said, “We have to win. We have to start winning wars again,” Trumpsaid. “I have to say, when I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. We never lost a war. You remember, some of you were right there with me, you remember, America never lost.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who served in the Iraq war and lost both of her legs, slammed the president’s insinuation that the military does not fight to win. After saying Trump’s Cabinet is filled with “unqualified, poorly-vetted and ethically-challenged nominees” Duckworth stated:

“To top it all off, the President who has never served in uniform and thinks he knows better than Generals with real combat experience said that our troops ‘don’t fight to win’ anymore. Well, as someone who fought to protect his right to say offensive things, I have a message for President Trump. Our troops do fight to win, but if the Commander-in-Chief believes they don’t, then he should tell the American people why he’s ordering them to remain in harm’s way.”

VoteVets, a nonprofit organization that has spoken out against Trump since he was on the campaign trail, called Trump’s remarks “absolutely insulting.”

Jason Kander, former secretary of state in Missouri and an Army veteran who went to Afghanistan, also came out against the president’s speech.

Trump also alluded to “winning” in this speech.

“We will have the finest equipment in the world: planes, ships and everything else,” he said while discussing an increased military budget. “We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and if required to fight war and do only one thing, you know what that is Win. We’re going to start winning again.”

Trump has made similar comments before, notably when he insulted McCain, who was a prisoner of war, while on the campaign trail. He said being captured meant McCain was not a war hero.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

For his part, McCain said he did not need an apology from Trump, instead telling MSNBC: “I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving our country.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on Abbott.com – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…