Thursday, October 19, 2017

Message for Trump supporters: You knew what you signed up for - and you voted for him anyway

Never let it be said that our President Donald Trump missed an opportunity to diss someone or some group. That’s particularly true of those now in the military and veterans.

The latest PR shit storm started when Trump was asked about four special forces soldiers who were ambushed and killed in Niger. The question asked was about what they were doing there and why Trump had not contacted the families. Trump deflected and redirected the question by claiming, falsely, that other presidents, notably Obama, had not called or written to families of solders killed in action. The redirection worked, according to Rachel Maddow on her show last night. The media is now consumed with what Trump said - or did not say - to one army widow. We’ll come back to the misdirection issue in a moment.

The Huffington Post reports that Trump Claims Congresswoman Lied About His Call To Army Widow.

The president was said to have told the woman her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”

Said Congresswoman was not having any of that.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) of fabricating the claim that he told the widow of a soldier killed in combat that she “must’ve known what he signed up for.”

“I have proof,” Trump tweeted. He offered no evidence.

Wilson stood by her account of the president’s phone call with the widow, telling CNN’s “New Day” that she, too, has proof of Trump’s conversation. “He is a sick man,” she said. “He’s cold-hearted and he feels no pity or sympathy for anyone.”

Army Sgt. La David Johnson was killed during an ambush in Niger earlier this month. Myeshia Johnson, his pregnant widow, received the call from Trump on Tuesday.

The fallen soldier’s mother said she also heard the call, and confirmed Wilson’s account was accurate.

In an interview before Trump’s tweet on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Wilson called Trump’s conversation with Johnson “absolutely crazy” and said the president didn’t even remember La David Johnson’s name.

Pressed for said proof later on Wednesday, Trump told White House pool reporters to “let [Wilson] make her statement again and then you’ll find out.”

Shortly after, Wilson reiterated her claim in a tweet.

I still stand by my account of the call b/t @realDonaldTrump and Myesha Johnson. That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not “the woman” or “the wife.”
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017

Wilson was with Johnson at the time of the Tuesday call and said she heard the conversation on speakerphone. She recounted the exchange to South Florida’s NBC affiliate.

“Sarcastically he said: ‘But you know he must have known what he signed up for,’” Wilson told NBC6. “How could you say that to a grieving widow? I couldn’t believe … and he said it more than once. I said this man has no feelings for anyone. This is a young woman with child who is grieved to her soul.”

The fallen soldier’s mother, who said she also heard Trump’s speakerphone conversation, confirmed that Wilson accurately repeated what the president said.

OK. Enough already. All this is typical Trump. We already have evidence that he disrespects members of our military. Recall, please, his war of words with the gold star parents (the Khans) of an army captain killed while saving members of his command. Recall, please, Trump’s claim that he did not consider Senator John McCain a real hero because Trump respects those who did not get captured and tortured for 5 years.

Is the implication here that McCain is at fault for getting captured? Does that extend to Sergeant Johnson’s getting killed? Is that Johnson’s fault? Should McCain and Johnson have been smarter?

But what were those American soldiers doing in Niger? The Washington Post has the story, such as it is known to date. Phillip Rucker and Dan Lamothe report on Twelve days of silence, then a swipe at Obama: How Trump handled four dead soldiers. Here is their reporting on the Niger mission.

The White House has not explained why Trump took so long to comment publicly about the Niger ambush, but officials said Tuesday that he was regularly briefed on the incident during that period. They declined to provide details.

It’s looking like the White House did not want to talk about the existence of American troops in Niger. Here is more.

This month’s deadly operation in Niger was unusual and highly sensitive, and the military has not yet disclosed many details. It was something of a surprise that the Special Forces unit came under fire — and the remains of one of the fallen soldiers, Johnson, 25, were not recovered until two days afterward.

Marine Lt. Gen. Frank McKenzie, the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, told reporters Oct. 12 that the ambush marked the first time in at least six months that the U.S. military had faced enemy fire in the region.

McKenzie said the operation was meant to be an outreach effort in which the U.S. soldiers went out alongside local forces; it was “not designed to be a combat patrol.” But he defended the support the soldiers had, saying that there was a “pretty good level of planning” and that French forces responded within 30 minutes with helicopter air support.

The general said the Pentagon believes there is some connection to an affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group in the attack.

So maybe that is the real story - ISIS in Africa and America’s reaction to it.

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