Thanksgiving: That time of the year when families gather to eat too much turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, then watch football or a giant inflatable Snoopy on TV. Some families remember indigenous peoples’ histories. And traditionally, the U.S. president pays a visit military service members serving their country. That is, except President Donald Trump: he’s spending his holiday at his private club, Mar-A-Lago, avoiding the troops.
Trump claims he’s a champion of the military, and says the armed forces have never been stronger than it is under his leadership. “I’ve done more for the vets than any president has done, certainly in many, many decades,” Trump once declared on the campaign trail, according to the Atlantic.
But in reality, Trump (who has himself avoided military service) has never visited the troops in a combat zone, has forced troops to needlessly miss Thanksgiving so they can fulfill a politically motivated mission to protect the country from an imaginary threat at the border, and has verbally attacked war heroes. Trump attacked the late Sen. John McCain because he was held captive for five years in Vietnam, as well as the parents of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq and retired Admiral William McRaven because the team he led did not kill Osama bin Laden faster. When troops were killed in Niger, he was too busy to greet their coffins.
Last year, after falsely claiming he had called the families of virtually all service members killed since he had taken office, his administration was found rush-shipping condolence letters, according to the Atlantic.
According to reporting by the Washington Post, Trump does not visit combat zones because he does not want to be associated with wars he views as failures. He reportedly signed off on — but does not agree with — requests by his own administration to expand America’s military presence in Afghanistan and Syria. He also reportedly fears the long flights getting there and is afraid he could be a target for violence.
Under pressure for his mistreatment of the armed forces, Trump is now, according to unnamed administration officials quoted by the Post, finally considering a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. But he won’t be there for Thanksgiving. He’ll spend the holiday at his very own Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he will enjoy the company of celebrities and wealthy club members and numerous rounds of golf.
Meanwhile, the troops he deployed to the border for political gain will have to Skype or call their families for the holiday.