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Trump and the Military

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Sep 4th, 2020
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  1. Last update: 03SEP20
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  4. • The Pentagon is apparently attempting to dissolve "Stars and Stripes," a popular military newspaper that has been published using taxpayer dollars since the Civil War. The House is working to counteract the memo and associated budgetary change that would shutter the paper, but the Senate has not yet taken action. September, 2020. [[USA Today]](https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/09/04/trump-and-stars-and-stripes-attacking-american-icon-column/5706859002/)
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  6. • The president reportedly called John McCain and George H. W. Bush "losers" when addressing his staff due to McCain being a POW and Bush getting shot down during WWII. Additionally, sources claim he was absent from a ceremony in a French military cemetery in 2018 because "he did not believe it important to honor American war dead," and separately referred to 1800 Marine war casualties as "suckers" for getting killed. Reported September, 2020. [[The Atlantic]](https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/)
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  8. • After [staffing the VA with campaign doners](https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5d699d5ce4b01108044f28c5), VA officials removed the 48-hour review of changes to veterans' claims which veterans' groups and 42 Attorneys General argue is critical to ensuring accuracy of the claims process. July, 2020. [[Stripes]](https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/va-opposes-efforts-to-reinstate-48-hour-review-process-for-claims-1.637829)
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  10. • Trump promised to veto Defense Spending Bill, suspending military pay, if Congress introduces amendment to change names of military bases. The amendment passed both houses of Congress intact. July, 2020. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-senate-idUSKBN23W38I)
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  12. • Intelligence was incorporated into the PDB around March 2020 that Russia paid bounties to kill American troops. Since then, Trump has petitioned world leaders to bring Russia back into the G8, and has dismissed the intelligence reports as non-credible. June, 2020. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-afghanistan-russia-idUSKBN23Z0HX)
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  14. • The White House attempted to end National Guard deployments one day before they could claim benefits. May, 2020. [[Politico]](https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/19/national-guard-coronavirus-267514) The deployments were extended after the story broke, but it's unclear if it was because of the story, since some of those deployments were later extended again. [[The Hill]](https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/499937-trump-to-extend-national-guard-deployments-through-mid-august)
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  16. • The Trump adminstration seized 5 million masks intended for VA hospitals. April, 2020. [[Huffpost]](https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5ea4c72dc5b6805f9ece2bc3) Jared Kushner allegedly created a middleman between government agencies and the National Stockpile by distributing equipment to private companies for a fee, and contacting those companies to sell the equipment to various agencies, states, and localities. [[Politico]](https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/27/republican-fundraiser-company-coronavirus-152184)
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  18. • Brett Crozier, the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was relieved of command by the acting Secretary of the Navy after warning superiors that a COVID19 outbreak would likely sideline the aircraft carrier. The virus subsequently spread amongst the crew. March, 2020. [[USNI Timeline]](https://news.usni.org/2020/06/23/timeline-theodore-roosevelt-covid-19-outbreak-investigation) Historically, COs have been relieved of command by the Commodore of their squadron, the Chief of Naval Personnel, or the Chief of Naval Operations. This relief was conducted by the Secretary, who is appointed by the President, meaning it is highly likely that the President had a hand in making the decision. [[Business Insider]](https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-wanted-to-fired-the-us-navy-captain-brett-crozier-2020-4?op=1)
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  20. • The Trump adminstration suddenly removed 9,500 servicemembers from Germany, purportedly without consulting the German Foreign Ministry or NATO. March, 2020 [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-germany-military-criticism-idUSKBN23D0JN)
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  22. • After Iran's retaliatory strike, 109 US troops suffered brain injuries. Trump dismissed these as "headaches." February, 2020. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pentagon-tbi-exclusive/more-than-100-u-s-troops-diagnosed-with-brain-injuries-from-iran-attack-idUSKBN2041ZK)
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  24. • Trump has pardoned multiple war criminals, despite recommendations from military officials. He also intervened often on the Eddie Gallagher case, getting him removed from solitary confinement, stopping an internal community review that would have stripped Gallagher of his warfare device, demanding on Twitter that he not lose rank, and firing then SecNav Richard Spencer when Spencer pushed back. November, 2019. [[AP Gallagher Timeline]](https://apnews.com/097da598195d42b08a9271e3c82b05b5) [[Spencer WashPo OpEd]](https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-spencer-i-was-fired-as-navy-secretary-heres-what-ive-learned-because-of-it/2019/11/27/9c2e58bc-1092-11ea-bf62-eadd5d11f559_story.html) [[Politico]](https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/15/trump-pardon-war-crimes-071244)
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  26. • Trump removed Lt. Col. Vindman and his brother from their positions in the White House when Vindman agreed to testify as part of the Ukraine debacle. Trump also criticized Vindman for asserting his rank and wearing his uniform while giving testimony. Vindman's promotion to O-6 was reportedly contested by the President, and Vindman opted to retire shortly thereafter. November, 2019, June, 2020. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-impeachment-vindman/an-officer-and-an-impeachment-witness-he-draws-ire-of-trump-allies-idUSKBN1XT2WP) [[Military Times]](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/07/08/lt-col-alexander-vindman-who-testified-against-trump-announces-retirement-from-the-army/)
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  28. • Trump abruptly withdrew support from America's allies in Syria after a phone call with Turkey's president. October, 2019. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-usa/trump-tells-pentagon-to-begin-withdrawing-remaining-troops-from-northern-syria-idUSKBN1WS0GH)
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  30. • The Trump administration sent American troops to defend the oil assets of the country that perpetrated 9/11. September, 2019. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/saudi-aramco-usa-pentagon/pentagon-to-send-troops-to-bolster-saudi-defenses-after-attack-idUSL2N26B1V0)
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  32. • Trump tweeted a photo of an Iranian launch site from a potentially classified source. August, 2019. [[NPR]](https://www.npr.org/2019/08/30/755994591/president-trump-tweets-sensitive-surveillance-image-of-iran)
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  34. • Trump illegally diverted approved funding for schools on military bases, military housing, and daycare facilities to help pay for the border wall. August, 2019. [[NPR $3.6B, 2019]](https://www.npr.org/2019/09/04/757463817/these-are-the-11-border-projects-getting-funds-intended-for-military-constructio) [[NPR, $3.8B, 2020]](https://www.npr.org/2020/02/13/805796618/trump-administration-diverts-3-8-billion-in-pentagon-funding-to-border-wall)
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  36. • Trump appointed three of his Mar-a-Lago pals to run the VA. They were later accused of "meddling" by other VA staff. August, 2019. [[Huffpost]](https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5d699d5ce4b01108044f28c5)
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  38. • Veterans graves may be displaced due to border wall construction. August, 2019. [[Video from local NBC affiliate]](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8gHGBUj1i2M)
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  40. • Trump ordered the Navy rescind medals given to Eddie Gallagher's prosecution team. July, 2019. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-navyseal-warcrimes-trump-idUSKCN1UQ2SC)
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  42. • Trump sent troops to the border to assist with logistics, provide security, and paint the fence for a better "aesthetic appearance." June, 2019. [[Military Times]](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/06/06/some-troops-to-spend-the-next-month-painting-border-fence-with-mexico/)
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  44. • Trump made his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, sign a prenup that would have cut off all child support if Tiffany joined the military, got a full time job, or joined the Peace Corps. Reported June, 2019. [[Vanity Fair]](https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/06/marla-maple-prenup-donald-trump-marriage)
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  46. • Trump turned away US servicemembers from his Memorial Day speech because they were from the destroyer USS John S. McCain. May, 2019. [[Business Insider]](https://www.businessinsider.com/uss-john-mccain-sailors-were-turned-away-from-trump-speech-2019-5?op=1)
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  48. • White House staffers reportedly discussed moving or covering the USS John McCain during the president's visit to Japan. A [later report](https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/30/politics/uss-john-mccain-japan-white-house-navy-trump/index.html) explains that the ship's name was covered by a tarp for topside preservation, but the tarp was removed while the president was still in Japan. May, 2019. [[Navy Times]](https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/05/30/white-house-tells-navy-to-keep-destroyer-mccain-out-of-sight-during-trump-visit-to-japan-report-says/)
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  50. • The Trump adminstration purged 200,000 healthcare applications submitted to the VA. Reported May, 2019. [[Military.com Blog]](https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/07/16/report-va-abandoned-more-200000-incomplete-vets-health-care-applications.html)
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  52. • The Trump adminstration deported the spouse of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, leaving their daughter an orphan. April, 2019. [[WashPo]](https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/16/ice-deported-widow-soldier-killed-afghanistan-attorney-says/) An immigration advocacy group suggests this issue may affect almost 12,000 military families. [[Military Times]](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/04/01/as-many-as-11800-military-families-face-deportation-issues-group-says/)
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  54. • Trump complained that he wasn't thanked for appearing at John McCain's funeral. March, 2019. [[The Independent]](https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-john-mccain-funeral-speech-ohio-twitter-a8832976.html)
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  56. • Trump appointees have increased privatization of the VA, leading to longer waits and higher taxpayer cost. Reported February, 2019. [[NPR]](https://www.npr.org/2019/02/27/697879155/va-expands-vets-access-to-private-care-but-gives-no-plan-to-pay-for-it)
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  58. • Trump refused to approve the budget without funding for the border wall, causing a government shutdown, and forcing the Coast Guard to work without pay. A bill was proposed by a Republican to specifically fund the Coast Guard, but Chuck Schumer blocked it. January, 2019. [[Task and Purpose]](https://taskandpurpose.com/news/coast-guard-pay-shutdown) [[The Hill]](https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/426824-schumer-blocks-bill-to-pay-coast-guard)
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  60. • Trump banned service members from serving based on gender identity. January, 2019. [[Reuters]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-transgender-idUSKCN1TF1ZM)
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  62. • When a man was caught swindling veterans' pensions for high-interest “cash advances," Trump's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined him $1. This type of fine has been termed the "Mulvaney Discount." January, 2019. [[The Intercept]](https://theintercept.com/2019/01/26/cfpb-mulvaney-discount/)
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  64. • Trump called a retired general a 'dog' with a 'big, dumb mouth.' January, 2019. [[The Hill]](https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/423400-trump-slams-mcchrystal-amid-criticism-from-retired-general)
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  66. • Trump didn't visit troops overseas until 2 years after taking office. December, 2018 [[Military Times from October, 2018]](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/10/17/top-senate-democrat-urges-trump-to-visit-troops-fighting-overseas/) [[CBS News]](https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-makes-surprise-visit-to-iraq-to-meet-with-troops-2018-12-26/)
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  68. • Trump posted pictures with deployed members of a SEAL team during his visit, including their names and faces. December, 2018. [[Huffpost]](https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c258858e4b0407e9081117b)
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  70. • Trump told deployed troops that he had given them a 10% raise. He actually tried giving the military a raise that was lower than the standard living adjustment, which Congress rejected. He then told servicemembers his raise was larger than Obama's. It wasn't. December, 2018. [[Military Times]](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/12/27/in-iraq-visit-trump-makes-false-claim-about-military-pay-again/) Additionally, servicemembers entitlements for housing and food haven't kept up with inflation during the Trump presidency, with a couple years of 0% increases. But it is important to remember this is actually the fault of Congress, Trump just hasn't done anything about it, while actively claiming the military has never been paid better. [[BAH since 2015]](https://militarybenefits.info/2020-bah-basic-allowance-for-housing-rates/) [[BAS since 2013]](https://militarybenefits.info/2020-bas-basic-allowance-for-subsistence-rates/)
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  72. • Trump tried to slash disability and unemployment benefits for veterans and eliminate the unemployability extrascheduler rating. This was removed from the budget proposal. December, 2018. [[Snopes]](https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-disabled-veterans-cuts/)
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  74. • Trump urged Florida to not count absentee votes, which would include votes cast by resident servicemembers stationed outside of Florida. November, 2018 [[Huffpost]](https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5be9f43ae4b044bbb1a783bf)
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  76. • While in Europe commemorating the end of WWI, Trump decided not to attend the ceremony at a military cemetery due to the rain -- other world leaders went anyway. November, 2018. [[The Hill]](https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/416058-churchills-grandson-rips-trump-for-skipping-cemetery-visit-because-of)
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  78. • Trump activated a National Guard deployment to the southern border a few days before Thanksgiving to prevent an alleged caravan of immigrants from entering. The deployment is still active two years later, meaning the National Guard is still maintaining a presence there. November, 2018. [[Task and Purpose]](https://taskandpurpose.com/news/trump-troops-border-thanksgiving)
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  80. • The Trump administration failed to plan the shift in benefits when the Forever GI Act was implemented, causing the VA to miss veteran benefits payments, including housing allowances. The bill was signed into law in August, 2017, and the VA was still struggling with adminstrative issues over a year later. November, 2018. [[NBC News]](https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/veterans-haven-t-receive-gi-bill-benefits-months-due-ongoing-n934696)
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  82. • The rejection rate for veterans requesting family deportation protections doubled under the Trump administration. July, 2018 [[Newsweek]](https://www.newsweek.com/trump-doubled-rejection-rate-veterans-requesting-family-deportation-1010571)
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  84. • The Trump adminstration has rolled back the MAVNI program, which allows immigrants to enlist in exchange for citizenship. Reportedly, a number of active servicemembers were given uncharacterized discharges shortly after the program was suspended. Reported July, 2018. [[The Independent]](https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-army-discharge-immigrant-recruits-citizenship-trump-administration-a8434166.html)
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  86. • Trump sent commandos into an ambush in Niger due to a lack of intel, sent contractors to pick them up, resulting in a commando being left behind, tortured, and executed. Trump reportedly approved the mission because Bannon told him Obama didn't have the guts to do it. October, 2017. [[DoD Investigation]](https://dod.defense.gov/portals/1/features/2018/0418_niger/img/Oct-2017-Niger-Ambush-Summary-of-Investigation.pdf) [[Reuters Timeline]](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-niger-usa-timeline/timeline-top-u-s-general-lays-out-timeline-of-deadly-niger-attack-idUSKBN1CS2UM)
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  88. • Trump told a room full of Generals, "You’re a bunch of dopes and babies." July, 2017. [[Military Times]](https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/01/17/trump-blasted-top-military-generals-as-a-bunch-of-dopes-and-babies-according-to-new-book/)
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  90. • Trump blocked a veteran group on Twitter. June, 2017. [[The Hill]](https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/337560-trump-blocks-veterans-group-on-twitter)
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  92. • Trump claims he knows more about ISIS than American generals. October, 2016. [[CBS News]](https://www.cbsnews.com/video/trump-u-s-generals-dont-know-much-about-isis/)
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  94. • Trump said veterans get PTSD because they aren't strong. October, 2016. [[Snopes]](https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/donald-trump-didnt-say-vets-with-ptsd-are-weak/)
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  96. • Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a fan at one of his rallies and said: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” August, 2016. [[Politico]](https://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/trump-purple-heart-226565)
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  98. • Trump mistreats Gold Star families (families of a servicemember killed while serving): Myeshia Johnson (gold star widow), Khan family (gold star parents). 2016. [[The Independent, Myeshia Johnson]](https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-us-soldier-widow-forgets-husbands-name-call-sergeant-la-david-t-johnson-a8015251.html) [[NPR, Kahn Family]](https://www.npr.org/2016/08/01/488213964/gop-criticism-mounts-as-trump-continues-attacks-on-khan-family)
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  100. • Trump sent funds raised from a veterans benefit to the Donald J. Trump Foundation instead of veterans charities. The foundation has since been disbanded as a result of fraud. 2016. [[NPR]](https://www.npr.org/2019/11/07/777287610/judge-says-trump-must-pay-2-million-over-misuse-of-foundation-funds)
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  102. • Trump said he has "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military" because he went to a military-style academy. 2015. [[Politico]](https://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-military-service-213392)
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  104. • Trump said he doesn't consider POWs heroes because they were caught. He said he prefers people who were not caught. July, 2015. [[Politico]](https://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/trump-attacks-mccain-i-like-people-who-werent-captured-120317)
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  106. • Trump said having unprotected sex was his own personal Vietnam. 1998. [[Video of Howard Stern interview]](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nQcTOxaW62s)
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  108. • For a decade, Trump sought to kick veterans off of Fifth Avenue because he found them unsightly nuisances outside of Trump Tower. 1991. [[Daily Beast]](https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trump-wanted-vets-kicked-off-fifth-avenue)
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  110. • Trump dodged the draft 5 times by having a doctor diagnose him with bone spurs [[Snopes]](https://www.snopes.com/news/2016/08/02/donald-trumps-draft-deferments/)
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  112. • No Trump in America has ever served in the military; this spans 5 generations, and every branch of the family tree. In fact, the reason his grandfather immigrated to America was to avoid military service. [[The Guardian]](https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/21/trump-grandfather-friedrich-banished-germany-historian-royal-decree)
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