between these lines.President Obama was in Atlanta yesterday, speaking to the Disabled American Veterans’ national conference, and though he didn’t mention the upcoming election or the names of his would-be successors, it wasn’t difficult to read
“No one – no one – has given more for our freedom and our security than our Gold Star families. Michelle and I have spent countless hours with them. We have grieved with them. There’s a reason why, last week in Philadelphia, I was humbled to be introduced by Sharon Belkofer from Ohio, a Gold Star mom whose son, Tom, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, gave his life in Afghanistan. I requested Sharon to introduce me, because I understood that our Gold Star families have made a sacrifice that most of us cannot even begin to imagine.“They represent the very best of our country. They continue to inspire us every day, every moment. They serve as a powerful reminder of the true strength of America. We have to do everything we can for those families, and honor them, and be humbled by them.“DAV, I know that your service has also been defined by another battle. This is a group that understands sacrifice.”
The context was hard to miss. It was just a few days ago that Donald Trump not only took cheap shots at Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, he also insisted he understands sacrifice – because he’s worked “very hard” and had “tremendous success.”
The president went on to add, “Let me say something else about this generation. As Commander-in-Chief, I’m pretty tired of some folks trash-talking America’s military and troops…. Let’s get some facts straight: America’s Army is the best-trained, best-equipped land force on the planet. Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world. The precision of, and reach of, our Air Force is unmatched. Our Marines are the world’s only truly expeditionary force. We have the world’s finest Coast Guard. We have the most capable fighting force in history – and we’re going to keep it that way.”
Again, Obama didn’t name names, but he didn’t have to: the only prominent American who runs around talking about how the United States can’t win wars, and who claims to know more about military might than American military leaders themselves, is Donald J. Trump.
Republicans must find all of this quite exasperating. Celebrating veterans, honoring veterans’ families, defending the American military against those who question its potency – this is supposed to be their message. These are supposed to be their talking points, not some progressive Democratic president’s.
But that was in the Republican Party’s B.T. (Before Trump) era.