The GOP Has Slandered Our Heroes For Years

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President Truman held a reception for wounded World War II veterans at a White House garden party in 1946.

The GOP has a long history of trashing our heroes. It didn’t start with Donald Trump.

In 2000, John McCain had upset George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary and Bush had to win the South Carolina primary to stay in the race. Karl Rove masterminded — behind the scenes — a nasty campaign of deception that alleged that McCain had turned traitor when he was a POW in North Vietnam. In addition, Bush’s supporters made false and scurrilous racist allegations against McCain.

In 2002, Max Cleland was running for re-election for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Cleland was a wounded Vietnam War veteran who lost three limbs in that conflict. Subsequently, Cleland served as head of the V.A. during the Carter Administration.

Max Cleland’s draft dodging opponent trashed his patriotism by running TV ads that paired his pictures with those of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. John McCain said of one ad: “It’s worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible.” Cleland lost.

Two years later, the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lied about John Kerry’s service in Vietnam. This PAC was funded by people with close ties to the Bush campaign. Several mainstream media sources debunked their false allegations. Nonetheless, Bush was narrowly re-elected and had a disastrous second term.

Republican attacks on our heroes have reached a new low with the presidential candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump. Early in his candidacy Trump attacked John McCain: “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured. He lost and let us down. I’ve never liked him as much after that. I don’t like losers.” Nonetheless, Trump maintained his front runner status and continued to rise in the polls.

In 2016, Trump attacked a Gold Star family when he slammed the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

During a meeting at the Pentagon in 2017, the former TV reality star insulted our top generals — all of whom had served in combat in the wars after the attacks of 9/11/01. Trump ranted: “I wouldn’t go to war with you people. You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

That same year, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery with retired Marine General John Kelly. Trump said: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?,” while he was standing with Kelly at the grave of Kelly’s son, Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan.

Donald Trump, in a White House meeting, asked that a military parade exclude wounded veterans, because “nobody wants to see” amputees.

In a 2018 trip to France, Trump canceled a visit to honor our troops at a WWI cemetery: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for dying for our country.

Trump’s attacks on our heroes that are currently in the news are part of a long time pattern from the radical right and are 100% consistent with his own habit of smearing our heroes. Fox News, the Washington Post and the Associated Press have all verified The Atlantic’s revelations about Trump’s reprehensible insults of our fallen heroes.

Why do Jeff Fortenberry and Don Bacon want four more years of this? Is Don Bacon going to do nothing while Trump slanders his comrades?

The Republican party will cease to be a relevant party if it doesn’t denounce Trump’s reprehensible comments insulting our veterans. For the rest of their lives, every elected Republican will be asked if they condemned Trump’s comments or were silent in the fall of 2020.

There will come a day where you won’t be able to find any Republicans who will admit that they once were fired up about Trump. We can’t let the voters forget about a second consecutive failed GOP presidency. GOP propaganda relies upon amnesia and bad memories. We can’t count on the mainstream media to remind people about Trump’s failures. As Democrats, we have the duty to refresh memories.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum said it best: “When this is all over, nobody will admit to ever having supported it.” We can’t let the GOP away with it again!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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