But now doubts are growing as to whether the love of the „Commander-in-Chief“ for his own troupe is really as deep as he likes to claim. Trump, who attended a military school as a teenager, but then bypassed the service in Vietnam, caused in all sorts of words and deeds for more and more annoyance among soldiers, officers and veterans.
That was too much for Trump. In one of his typical outbursts, he accused McRaven of being a „Hillary Clinton fan“ and „Barack Obama supporter.“ He also questioned McRaven’s military accomplishments by interviewing his favorite Fox News: „Would not it have been nice if we caught Osama Bin Laden?“ Trump asked pointedly.
„For me Bin Laden was a very personable, good person“
The President’s attacks sparked a wave of solidarity with the ex-admiral. McRaven rejected Trump’s claim to be a Clinton fan; Military, intelligence and even Republican leaders hailed him: „There are few Americans who have sacrificed more and risked more than he did,“ wrote Marco Rubio, Florida senator, on Twitter. McRaven’s career is an example of honor and excellence.
The McRaven case is not all. Much to the annoyance of many military personnel, Trump’s Midterm campaigning idea of garrisoning up to 15,000 troops on the border with Mexico will stop an alleged „invasion“ by migrants, the so-called „caravan“. Since the soldiers only set up fences and tents because they are not allowed to participate in border controls by law, the purpose of the operation was challenged in the Pentagon from the beginning.
Now the election campaign is over, Trump has almost lost interest in the subject, but the soldiers are still there. Because of Trump, they have to spend the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the desert instead of their loved ones at home. Overall, the action will probably cost the American taxpayer several hundred million dollars in the end. While Secretary of Defense James Mattis is officially defending the operation as a good „maneuvering exercise,“ high-level officers talk privately of a „killer“ for the troop’s morale. At least 6000 soldiers are to be sent home by Christmas.
„Too many important calls“
Trump has also caused a lot of excitement lately with his awkward handling of commemoration of fallen US soldiers. First he skipped a week ago in Paris a planned visit to the World War cemetery of Aisne-Marne, allegedly because his helicopter could not start because of rain. Then, on his return to Washington, Trump missed the traditional veteran day ceremony at the Arlington Military Cemetery. He had so much to do with important calls that day, Trump apologized.
It goes without saying that almost two years after assuming office, Trump still has not made any travel to the US troops in the operational areas in Afghanistan or Iraq. Both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama visited the soldiers several times. Even on holidays like Thanksgiving. Trump, who has spent more than a hundred days on the golf course in recent years, said he has unfortunately been too busy with other things.