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Despite being president for four years, it’s not clear if Donald Trump ever read the job description. For one thing, he didn’t seem to understand how the military worked. On top of calling fallen soldiers “losers,” he also reportedly wished they acted more like the German soldiers during World War II, aka the Nazis. Now a veteran is calling him out for allegedly thinking they were only there to do his bidding.
As caught by Raw Story, Theodore Johnson, a Navy vet and Brennan Center for Justice fellow, wrote a column for The Bulwark in which he torched the former commander-in-chief for thinking the military was an “apparatus for personal use.” Comparing him to Louis XIV, who infamously declared, “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”), Johnson claimed that Trump “and his acolytes acted as though the Constitution meant whatever he said it meant, and thus, the oath military members took to it was received as fealty to the president (the person) and not the presidency (the office).”
Johnson cited a number of disturbing actions Trump took. One was using soldiers to teargas protesters in Lafayette Square during the George Floyd protests of 2020, which caused Gen. Mark Milley to draft a resignation letter he never sent. Another was him taking classified documents, allegedly including nuclear secrets, down to Mar-a-Lago, leading to a search by the FBI, from which he’s now fundraising off of his cash-strapped supporters.
“These occurrences,” Johnson writes, “bring to the fore a troubling issue usually lurking in the background of civil-military relations: When a president believes his interests supersede the nation’s — or, worse, that his interests become the nation’s — the democratic principle of ‘civilian control of the military’ exposes the armed services to co-option as a partisan tool for domestic politics.”
Trump may run again, even if it’s from jail. But even if he doesn’t, “dangers remain,” writes Johnson. “If our country’s toxic polarization, hyperpartisanship, and intentional stoking of social tensions for political ends are not sufficiently addressed,” he wrote, “we may find ourselves dangerously close to the precipice once more—and if Trump or someone following the Trump model comes to power again, we may well tumble over the edge.”
Perhaps Johnson is referring to a certain governor who punishes corporations that disagree with him and bullies kids.