State Of America

While Trump courts law enforcement, Biden draws in military

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Maritime Park's Hunter Amphitheater in 2016 in Pensacola, Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As election day draws closer in the US, voting lines are drawn between blue and red states, and it seems, military and law enforcement families and communities.

“To protect and (to) serve” – widely known as the motto of law enforcement in America, was the motto of the Los Angeles Police Department, selected via a competition to find a motto. The winning entry was sent in by Officer Joseph S Dorobek. This is also the message that US President Donald Trump is sending to law enforcement – that he will protect and serve them. He made this clear last week when he visited Kenosha, Wisconsin on 1 September 2020, the city where 29-year-old African American Jacob Blake was shot in the back by a policeman who was two steps behind the victim. Kenosha saw rolling protests following the shooting of Blake, as well as the killing of two protestors by a 17-year-old white teenager with a semi-automatic rifle on the third night of protests in Kenosha.

The American president told the nation that the teenager was being attacked – video  footage clearly shows that the teenager had shot and killed his first victim, and protestors were trying to disarm him. But Trump stuck to his story. When he visited Kenosha, he toured damaged buildings and spoke to (and gave money to), small business owners whose businesses had been damaged or ruined by the protests. He thanked the police for their efforts and promised over $40-million in funds to assist law enforcement in Wisconsin.

The night before visiting Kenosha, Trump was asked about the policeman who shot Blake – who is now paralysed – seven times in the back, and he responded that cops, well, “They choke!” and likened it to a golfer who tries to make a three-foot putt and “chokes”.  Trump spent the week thanking the police for their service, loudly and at every opportunity: “great people… really good people.” He has also been singing the praises of the National  Guard troops, who he said “has been truly amazing”.

In the midst of what is a dedicated play on the president’s “law and order” campaign theme, Trump is also leaning on a definite constituency and ensuring that the greater law enforcement community knows where to cast its vote come 3 November 2020. Which may have been working until the end of last week when anti-military comments made in 2018, when the president cancelled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery in Paris, came back to bite him in the proverbial you-know-what.

“Why should I go to that cemetary?” Trump is reported as saying. “Its filled with losers.”  He also referred to soldiers who died in the war as “losers” for dying. He is also possibly one of America’s most famous draft dodgers – avoiding selective service, which was a system whereby the US kept a list of all males and when they turned 18, officials would select and draft from the list (on a state by state basis, with every state having its own selective service board). Once a young man received his draft letter, he needed to take a military physical examination and be run through some aptitude tests. If he failed the physical or the aptitude tests, he would be disqualified from serving. A US veteran told this reporter that some civilian doctors “were very cooperative in finding a reason why you could not be a soldier”.

Trump had one of these “very cooperative doctors” who diagnosed him as having bone spurs and therefore being unable to serve. It was not uncommon for young men with money to avoid going into the army. Trump is possibly feeling some discomfort right now, if only in relation to the upcoming polls as the people of the land of the free while respecting capitalists – and their president is possibly archetypal in that regard – are also the people of the land of the brave, so, draft dodging is very much the antithesis of brave.

Stepping into this heaving draft-dodging, anti-military scorn storm, is Joe Biden, who himself never served, but his son, the late Beau Biden was a member of the National Guard and served a tour in Iraq, receiving a Bronze Star. He died of a brain tumour in 2015. There are also records of Joe Biden senior, Biden’s father, registering for a selective draft for WWII, but he was not called.

Joe Biden senior (Joe Biden’s father), registered for a selective draft for WWII, but he was not called.

Biden has lambasted Trump for his “losers and suckers” comments in respect to soldiers and members of the military, and Trump may well have scored an electoral own goal, lighting a fire under the military for all the wrong reasons. Consider that the active military is just under 1.5 million Americans, with almost 900,000 reservists, not to mention the 18.2 million military veterans, and the army civilian workforce of around 100,000 people.

Trump may have met the enemy, and it appears his name is Donald. DM



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All Comments 4

  • Poor reporting by An Wentzel this story has been debunked by at least 11 US officials who were with Trump on this trip including John Bolton who was there and who is no friend of Trump

    • Apart from Bolton, what are the chances that these comments would have been kept hushed for 2 years? Not one in a billion. Not a fan of the man, but there really is a fake news media out there.

    • Well, except for the fact that the comments have been confirmed – either completely or in part – by multiple different news agencies, including by Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent for Fox News, which is so pro-Trump that it barely deserves the epithet ‘news’ at the end of its title….

  • One simply needs to look at the ‘records’ of the Trumps (senior and juniors) with regards to their attitude to the military, to know they have complete contempt for it. In his refutations of the allegations, he again poured scorn and contempt on the 4 star general Kelly ! AND repeated his contempt for Mc Cain – repackaging it as ‘disagreement’ with him ! Trump is known for making vulgar and crude comments about most people, especailly those who disagree with him. There is no need to ‘debunk’ the comments – they are exquisitely consistent with the character (lying and denying) of the person ! Remember the “grabbing women by the …..” comment which was passed off as locker-room talk ! He is a despicable example of a human being .

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