Trump told an audience in Iowa that McCain wasn’t “a war hero because he was captured” and that he preferred “people that weren’t captured”.
–The Guardian, Saturday, March 23, 2019
The Guardian article from which the quote above was taken went on to observe, “The late Senator John McCain spent more than five years in captivity in Vietnam after his plane was shot down in 1967. He refused an offer of early release. Trump received draft deferments during Vietnam for bone spurs.”
Trump once stated that he was “not a fan” of Senator McCain, especially after McCain rose from his sickbed to vote against a pet piece of legislation that Trump dearly wanted to pass.
It doesn’t take much effort to see the difference between the two men. McCain was a man of staunch principles and a life to prove it. Trump sees things in terms of good or bad only as it relates to what he wants in life. And on that front, Trump chose not to serve in the military on grounds that he was “not a fan” of the Vietnam War.
If Trump wasn’t a fan of either the military or the war, imagine how much he would have liked being submerged in rat-infested waters, kept in a cage with little food, starved and beaten, or outright tortured as prisoners of war endured in many wars. We think also of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner who became a POW in Japan and suffered mightily under the persecutorial eye of Mutsuhiro “the Bird” Watanabe, who targeted the American soldier for his status as an officer and reputation as a famous Olympian. Yet Zamperini persevered, and his life was chronicled in a movie titled Unbroken.
By contrast, Trump hired a ghostwriter to pen a laudatory book about his life called The Art of the Deal, The author stated that the book should be reclassified as fiction, a chronicle of fabrications design to paint Trump as a business mogul when instead he’s a fraud. And as for Trump’s personal fortitude, he apparently considers it a form of torture to walk from his golf cart onto the green to make a putt. So he drives on the greens instead. He has bluntly stated that exercise shortens life. His own staff testifies that he seems to consider exercise itself a form of torture, and avoids it.
A self-made man
If a man is so selfish and apparently weak of body and spirit that he views his life as if it were a battery running out of charge, imagine how that man would crumble if he were forced to stand long hours in the heat or cold, work manual labor until his hands bled and his feet rotted or was forced to endure mental and psychological pressure for years? That man would crack and tell everything he knew if it meant less suffering for himself. That is the nature of Donald Trump, a traitor that cannot keep even classified information secret in his role as President of the United States.
Trump is now Commander-in-Chief of America’s military. But one wonders how he’d act if he were called upon to protect his fellow prisoners from punishment or torture. Would he do as John McCain did, and take that suffering upon himself rather than give up secrets or allow others to suffer in his stead? We already know that Trump has betrayed our military allies and even left our military partners on the battlefield to die. All because he only cares about himself.
A life of betrayal
The Atlantic documented the many ways Trump has chosen to betray even those close to him. “Betrayal is a leitmotif for this president’s entire life. Think of how he cheated on his wives. Think of the infant child of a nephew who had crucial medical benefits withdrawn by Trump because of Trump’s retaliation against his nephew over an inheritance dispute. Think of those who enrolled at Trump University and were defrauded. Think about the contractors whom Trump has stiffed. Think of Jeff Sessions, the first prominent Republican to endorse Trump, whom Trump viciously turned against because Sessions had properly recused himself from overseeing the investigation into whether Russia had intervened in the 2016 election. Think about those who served in Trump’s administration—Rex Tillerson, John Bolton, Don McGahn, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, James Mattis, and many more—who were unceremoniously dumped and, in some cases, mocked on their way out the door.”
And let us not forget Michael Cohen, much less Stormy Daniels? Trump betrayed them too.
Abuse of power and authority
But Trump’s penchant for selfish intrigue and political betrayal caught up with him in the form of impeachment for withholding military aid for reasons of personal political benefit, an abuse of power, and obstruction of justice in conducting a coverup. Trump has called all investigations into his behavior a “witch hunt,” which is his way of claiming that he is being subjected to a form of torture.
So a disturbing pattern is evident in the way Donald Trump conducts himself. He maligns those that have a genuine set of principles and ridicules or betrays those whose experiences have proven them capable of standing by those principles. Meanwhile, Trump fawningly begs and borrows the mantle of religious authority offered by evangelicals even though his life has been a steady diet of the Seven Deadly Sins from lust to covetousness and greed.
It would be massively interesting if the Republican Party and the Senate were to abide by its professed belief that torture is permissible when the truth needs to be known. Trump himself has stated that waterboarding is “not tough enough” to drag the truth out of some people. Well, now that Trump has threatened to commit war crimes against Iran if he does not get his way in the region, perhaps the Senate might choose to waterboard Trump to get the truth about his bribery and extortion attempts in Ukraine. If he’s so determined to behave like the dictator of a rogue nation, it would be wise to pre-emptively test the man’s character since he doesn’t think torture is all that bad. A nice session of waterboarding under the watchful eye of Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would do the trick. He can even let Franklin Graham use holy water if Trump prefers. Surely a man of God such as Trump wouldn’t mind a baptism of that sort?
Or would he?