• Donald Trump’s First Mistake

    Donald Trump caught fire as a presidential candidate by speaking truth about illegal aliens in America. The mainstream media immediately played the race card, but that’s how that one-trick pony plays out. Trump is in-your-face. He isn’t the poll-tested, consultant coached, syllable-managed career politician Americans have become accustomed to. Like him or not, Trump is wealthy, has neither consultants nor pollsters, and he speaks his mind. I appreciated that. It was working well for him until his inexplicable comments about John McCain.

    Senator McCain insulted the crowds who came out to support Trump, calling them “crazies.” This isn’t the first time McCain has said similar; he has been outspoken about Tea Party conservatives, calling Ted Cruz, et al “Wacko Birds.” Suffice it to say that Sen. McCain, the “Maverick” candidate of 2000, has become part of the Republican establishment.

    It is entirely legitimate and appropriate for Trump, or anyone else for that matter, to criticize Senator McCain on his record in the senate, his comments about Trump’s crowds or his anti-Tea Party rants. I have done so on numerous occasions, including in my new book Government is the Problem.

    But that wasn’t enough for Mr. Trump, who felt compelled to reach back in time to attack and mock Lieutenant Commander McCain. That’s the McCain who was shot down during his 23rd combat mission over North Vietnam. The Naval aviator McCain who had both arms crushed in the crash, who was jerked out of his crash site by North Vietnamese troops, imprisoned and tortured. I’m not talking waterboarding; McCain was physically tortured. For years.  And then when his captors offered McCain his freedom, he refused unless his fellow POWs would be released with him. I wonder how The Donald would have responded to that. McCain remained a POW for another two years, during which I’m sure his “hosts” were less than happy with his upstaging of them.

    In the course of his comments Trump exclaimed that he preferred those “who didn’t get captured.” What? That is gobbledygook to anyone who has ever served in the military (that excludes Trump), right up there with Obama’s repeated butchering of the rank of a Navy Corpsman during one of his teleprompter enabled speeches (here’s a hint Barack: it’s “core-man,” not “corpse-man”). Where do we get these would-be Commander-in-Chiefs?

    As a 25-year Army veteran I want a Commander-in-Chief who has served in the military. Unfortunately, that is a rare animal nowadays, regardless of Party. Absent that, I’ll accept someone who, among other things, at least makes an effort to understand our military culture. A big part of that is to respect the service of those who sacrificed to keep us free.

    As a Constitutional conservative, I’m very unhappy with much of what establishment Republicans in Congress are doing, including Senator McCain. But I am in awe of, and I will forever venerate, what John McCain did in the service of our nation. He is a hero, national treasure, and I love him for his sacrifice. All veterans do. And that’s what Trump completely misses. When he disparaged one man’s distinguished military service for political gain, he told us a lot more about himself than he did about a war hero. It takes a big man to run for president and speak his mind; a bigger man would apologize to McCain and veterans everywhere.

    Patrick Murray

    Colonel Patrick Murray (USArmy Ret.), is author of the brand new book "Government Is the Problem."

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