In 2019, reports emerged that the White House had requested the USS John McCain stay out of sight while Donald Trump regaled the troops in Japan with a speech in which he weirdly wished a “happy Memorial Day” to Japanese service members. After the story blew up, Trump did his best to distance himself from the controversy, eventually calling it “an exaggeration, or even Fake News.”
Guess what? He was lying.
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Shortly after the news broke, investigative reporter Jason Leopold made an FOIA request for documents related to the incident. He just received those documents, and sure enough, the request to hide an entire naval destroyer because it bruised the leader of the free world’s ego came directly from the White House.
In a Twitter thread, Leopold gave a rundown of his findings and attached the relevant emails. (If you don’t do Twitter, click here to see the unrolled thread.)
There’s a lot of back and forth in those emails, and they’re certainly worth perusing, but the takeaway is that, yes, the military actually did spend time and resources—which they could have been using to make our military more “woke”—on keeping the name of Donald Trump’s sworn nemesis out of sight. And the folks involved in fulfilling the request appear to have recognized how petty and shallow it was.
In the following message, one of the respondents on the email thread says “this just makes me sad” and another cheekily observes that they could see the blunt request “becoming a tweet.”
No matter how thoroughly you loathe Donald Trump, I can almost guarantee you’re not trying hard enough. If they gave out Nobel Prizes for pettiness, Trump would whine that he hadn’t won more of them. (You know, because of the prize money.) This is the same guy who canceled his gravely ill infant nephew’s health insurance—out of spite.
If Trump has any human qualities at all, they’re basically limited to metabolizing carbs, sugars, and deep-fried Christmas sea lions. Try as you might, you won’t find a shred of munificence or generosity of spirit in FPOTUS, though I wouldn’t be at all shocked if you found two sparrows in his head fighting over a tube of Rolos.
Donald Trump deeply and publicly hated the late Arizona Sen. John McCain—likely because McCain’s bravery, honor, dedication, and genuine patriotism shamed him. And because McCain was never shy about calling out Trump’s disgraceful words and actions.
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In fact, when McCain died in 2018, Trump initially refused to order flags flown at half-staff. He also famously denigrated McCain’s service to his country because McCain had been captured during the Vietnam War. Oh, and just hours after McCain’s funeral, he thought it was a swell idea to blatantly troll the senator’s daughter. Because he has even less impulse control than honor.
And let’s not forget the ex-pr*sident’s penchant for wasting military resources to puff himself up. There was, of course, his effort to redirect military resources to build his southern border vanity wall. And the time he forced the Pentagon to make plans for a Soviet-style military parade through the streets of Washington, D.C. And let’s not forget about the Air Force’s mysterious refueling stop in Scotland, which just happened to be near Trump’s Turnberry golf resort.
As POLITICO reported at the time …
According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for select airline crews.
Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018.
But President Barack Obama saluted a Marine with a coffee cup in his hand that one time, so I guess it’s a wash.
Of course, Trump being petty is a decidedly dog-bites-man story, but these are some pretty big effing dogs that have been mauling us for the past seven years, and I think we’re entitled to show our scars. And this incident clearly left a mark.
If only blatant abuse of power were still enough to shock congressional Republicans. Then we’d really have a story.
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