There’s something terribly sordid about schilling for the guy that diminished the distinguished military career of your former presidential running mate.
Even worse is accepting an endorsement from someone who will trot out your closet’s skeletons in hope of hiding her own.
“He is not a war hero,” Donald Trump said of U.S. Sen. John McCain last year at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames before he received push back from the program’s host.
“I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have — I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”
And now the person selected by McCain as his presidential running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has endorsed Trump, claiming both men are “heroes.”
“Sen. McCain dedicated his life to serving our country, and in my humble opinion the sacrifices made by all ethical service members are heroic — putting it all on the line to defend freedom is heroic — and Donald Trump is a hero in another arena,” Palin said, while lamenting the “media-driven wedge between them.”
McCain, a Navy pilot, was shot down in 1967 over North Vietnam, fracturing both his arms and legs after ejecting from the plane. He was repeatedly tortured while a “guest” at the “Hanoi Hilton” — and refused early release when his captors learned his father was an admiral. It was six years later, after the Paris Peace Accords, that McCain returned home.
McCain continues to have physical challenges from his war experience. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for his service.
On the other hand, Trump received four student deferments between 1964 and 1968, as well as a medical deferment in 1968.
Frequent readers know this is the same period of time in which my brother served and died in Vietnam. If those who are captured draw Trump’s ire, I can only imagine his disdain for those who pay the ultimate price.
And while it doesn’t seem possible, Palin, stumping in Tulsa for Trump, slipped further down the rabbit hole. Her son Track was recently arrested for physically assaulting his girlfriend and subsequently held an AR-15 rifle near his own head. Palin chalked the incident up to PTSD and a lack of respect for all veterans.
“My son — like so many others — they come back a bit different. They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to the country,” Palin said. “And it starts from the top. And it’s a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder if they have to question if they’re respected anymore.”
Palin was, of course, trying to spin the situation into an ill-conceived attack on President Barack Obama. Take that how you will.
But that Palin would do so while stumping for a would-be president who has openly and repeatedly disrespected military men and women should be enough to place her back on an all-too-slow path to obscurity.
This column by Lynda Waddington originally published in The Gazette on January 23, 2016. Photo credit: Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters