As a Vietnam veteran, I am disgusted by President Trump’s response to the intelligence report that Russia may have paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. As he often does, he claims to have known nothing about it and called the report a hoax. He also focused on the apparent lack of consensus within the intelligence community. Many former government officials, from various administrations, however, have said an accusation this serious (even if there was not 100 percent consensus) would have been reported to the president. Additionally, the Pentagon just released a report confirming Russia continues to work with the Taliban to hasten the exit of the U.S. from Afghanistan.
Even if the president was not briefed back in March, his response is still disgusting. Any other president would have been enraged and would have assured our country, as commander in chief of the military, that his administration would continue to pursue this information and hold Russia accountable. Trump has called the reports “fake news” designed to damage him and the Republican Party. He isn’t worried about our troops; he is only worried about himself.
We know President Trump will not hold Russia accountable for anything. Remember when Trump sided with Putin, and against our intelligence community, regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election? Remember when Trump asked Russia to hack and release Clinton’s emails? Remember when Trump advocated for Russia to be readmitted into the G7 against the opposition of all of our long-standing allies (Russia was removed from the G8 because it invaded and annexed Crimea in Ukraine).
And this past Fourth of July, he spent hours praising the confederate generals, who waged war against the lawful government of the United States.
When Trump was running for election in 2015, he said John McCain wasn’t a war hero and that he (Trump) liked “people who weren’t captured.” Trump has also attacked Gold Star Families. He also attacked Lt. Col. Vindman after he testified against Trump in the impeachment hearing. Over 1,100 veterans came to Vindman’s defense and released a statement saying, “The president should know that, despite taking aim at one Army officer, he has targeted anyone who currently wears — or has worn — the uniform.”
While Trump enjoyed the pageantry of a West Point graduation where much of the attention was on him, he continues to show a complete disregard for the safety and security of our troops in war zones.
Count me as one of the many veterans who will not be voting for Trump in the upcoming election.