Donald Trump delivered remarks yesterday at a Celebration of Military Mothers and Spouses Event in the White House, where the president made one claim that stood out:
“We just approved $700 billion for our military. So we’re going to be having the best equipment ever known. And next year, $716 billion. So I wanted to let you know.
“And, by the way, I know you don’t care about this, but that also includes raises for our military. First time in 10 years.”
At first I thought he may have just misspoken, but Trump repeated the line soon after. In reference to military raises, the president added, “I am proud of it. And I guess there will be others, too. Would you like one sooner, or do you want to wait another 10 years?”
The trouble is, there were raises for our military in 2017. And 2016. And 2015 and 2014. And every other year of the Obama era. And the Bush era. And the Clinton era.
In fact, the Military Times’ Leo Shane explained yesterday, “The military has gotten a raise every year since the start of the all-volunteer military.”
Let’s be generous and say that Trump simply didn’t know that. If we give the president the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn’t deliberately trying to deceive these military families, the question turns to better understanding Trump’s ignorance.
Or put another way, why in the world would the president think American servicemen and women went a full decade without receiving a raise?
I suspect the answer is that Trump assumes that Barack Obama didn’t care about the troops, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Indeed, as recently as March, the Republican president said congressional Democrats – including quite a few military veterans – “don’t believe in” the American military.
It’s a strange and lazy way to see the political landscape, and it has no basis in fact, but Cadet Bone Spurs really does seem to consider himself some kind of unique champion of the military.
He’s not, but there’s no reason to think he’ll stop repeating bogus claims like these anytime soon.