We all knew it would happen. It was classic “not if, but when.”
We chuckled when he talked about how his wealth. We nodded when he said he would be a better negotiator than anyone in the Obama administration. We thought it made sense that he could “make America rich.”
Many of us – overtly or to ourselves – gave him a big ” hell yeah!” when he said things about immigration no one else would say.
But then, The Donald came up against The Donald, and the billionaire novelty Presidential candidate became as valuable as Enron stock.
Trump’s unfiltered approach to campaigning and his disdain for the politically correct has been refreshing, though establishment Republicans thought it unseemly and pedestrian. On one point, their’s was a legitimate complaint. Attacking fellow candidates is not only damaging to the party’s karma (particularly given a likely formidable opposition next year), but it provides too much potential fodder for Democrats. Of course, other GOP contenders have been given free rein to say what they please about Trump. Even so, it wasn’t Marco Rubio or Rick Perry or Jeb Bush or Scott Walker that have gotten the best of Donald Trump. It was Donald Trump.
When Trump said Arizona Senator John McCain was no hero because he had been a Vietnam POW (“I like people who weren’t captured,” he said), he crossed a line NO Republican is allowed or should be allowed to cross. No matter one’s opinion of McCain, his policies or philosophy, to demean his service as a Navy aviator because he was shot down, captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese is beyond unacceptable. Support for – reverence for – our troops and our veterans is a core tenant of Republican and, particulary, conservative beliefs. The Right makes little distinction between four-tour combat veterans and headquarters-based supply NCOs. Veterans are veterans and they are heroes for their willingness to put on the uniform. Nonetheless, anyone would recognize the special service of John McCain.
McCain is no Bowe Bergdahl or Bradley Manning. A Naval Academy graduate, John McCain served 25 years, including five and a half years as a POW, two of which were spent in solitary confinement. His 17 military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and Navy Commendation Medal for actions before, during, and after his time as a POW. There is even more about McCain’s career that deserves our appreciation and respect, neither of which Donald Trump has recognized.
Consider that even though Trump’s comments were prompted by a question concerning John McCain, he did not limit them to McCain.
“I like people who weren’t captured,” he said.
I suppose, then, he doesn’t like the (at least) 1,350 other American POWS in Vietnam, 7,245 in the Korean War or the 120,000 held captive in World War II.
Republicans, the Republican Party and conservatives should turn their backs to Donald Trump for his demeaning and disrespectful thoughts about America’s POWs. He is done. For his comments about a veteran – not that veteran’s political ideology but his combat status – Trump is no longer a legitimate Republican, nor would he be an acceptable Commander-in-Chief.