Richard J. Danzig and Sean O’Keefe, who were Navy secretaries under Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, warned of President Trump, “His values are not those of our military. It will do grievous damage to our armed services if they become so.”
Writing in a bipartisan New York Times op-ed that there are three problems with Trump’s actions in interfering to “block a conduct review of a Navy SEAL” who was convicted of dishonoring the uniform after he posed with the dead body of an ISIS prisoner, the former Navy secretaries blasted Trump’s values as dangerous for our armed services.
1. It is the Navy’s business. The Navy must not be commanded via political agendas.
“it is very much the Navy’s business — and every military’s business — to maintain, as the military so often recites and Mr. Spencer put it in his final letter to the president, “good order and discipline.” In conducting their “business,” our military services are not and must not be commanded in support of political ends, as Mr. Trump was apparently doing here.”
2. President Trump’s thoughts are shaped by TV commentators and tweeting his commands without hearing perspectives from those who have made the sacrifices of combat (shade shade shade for the bone spurs president) violates proper procedure.
“Contamination from the president’s approach is amplified when his judgment is largely shaped by television commentators and his decision announced by tweet…
… Wise presidents let those who have made the sacrifices of combat — and who depend upon one another in combat — state first what they conclude.”
3. Trump’s judgment itself will be taken as our values and will do “grievous damage” to our military. Troops will be misled by the president’s “sense, or lack of sense, of honor.”
“An American service member shared a photograph of himself with a corpse along with the message: ‘I have got a cool story for you when I get back. I have got my knife skills on.’ Our president’s endorsement of the perpetrator will be taken as a representation of our values. Our own troops, many of them teenagers, will be misled by the president’s sense, or lack of sense, of honor.”
Quoting from Mr. Spencer’s final letter, “The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries,” they finished:
“Our president should aspire to the same view. His values are not those of our military. It will do grievous damage to our armed services if they become so.”
This scathing opinion piece comes just two days after fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer (a Trump appointee) said of Trump’s actions, “What message does that send to the troops? That you can get away with things.”
The ousted Navy Secretary added, “I don’t think [Trump] really understands the full definition of a warfighter.”
Bipartisan military leaders are warning that the president does not share their values.
It shouldn’t go unsaid that this exact undermining of our military is one of Russia’s stages of warfare against a country it’s attacking. It’s beyond odd for any president to behave like Trump is, but instead of seeing it as Trump’s love for another person’s psychological sickness and cruelty, it should also be seen in the larger context, especially given the allegations laid out in the Mueller report and now Trump’s own transcript of his phone call with the president of Ukraine: President Trump is not working for this country.
He might be working for himself, he might be compromised, we don’t have all of the answers yet. But we do know that Trump can’t win a U.S. election for president without cheating and that he is trying to cheat again by bribing a foreign country to help him. We know that he (and or his campaign) asked Russia for help in 2016 and took help from them. Mueller wrote that this coordination was established, but what he didn’t feel he could establish was that the Trump entourage knew it was illegal when they did it.
Most of us don’t get that kind of privilege, but at any rate, they do know now. And they are still doing it. This puts Trump’s interference in our military in a different light, one that would terrify Republicans if it were a Democrat.
Ironically, Trump is actually doing what Republicans hysterically – and wrongly – screamed that former President Obama was doing, that is, radically transforming America and working for/with a foreign government, having an “un-American” agenda.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.