Benjamin Haas writes: After his inauguration, President Donald Trump didn’t take long to boast of his purported political support from the military. In his speech to the CIA – given in front of the Memorial Wall that honors CIA employees who have died in the line of duty – he claimed that “the military gave us tremendous percentages of votes. We were unbelievably successful in the election with getting the vote of the military.”
As a former Army officer, I know that new officers and enlistees take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution,” not a particular president or party. Therefore, Trump’s comments struck me as jarringly improper. So when I learned that Trump would speak to soldiers at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Florida last week, I wondered whether he would echo the claim he’d made at the CIA or demonstrate that he’d learned his lesson.
Just a few lines into his speech, Trump answered my question: “We had a wonderful election, didn’t we? And I saw those numbers, and you liked me, and I liked you. That’s the way it worked,” Trump declared.
There are two problems with Trump’s statements. First, they are misleading at best, false at worst. Second – and more importantly – politicizing the military risks undermining the public’s trust in the armed forces, an institution that enjoys greater public confidence than any other in the country. [Continue reading…]