'Causing real angst for military families.' Trump callously threatens troops' pay


Continuing his long history of using U.S. troops as political pawns, Trump hasn't taken any action to make sure they would get paid if the government shuts down.

By quickly condemning a bipartisan plan on Thursday to solve the thorny issue of immigration reform, and doing it while using vulgar, racist language to denounce black immigrants arriving in America, Donald Trump continues to increase the odds of a government shutdown next week.

He's also increasing the odds that American troops won't get paid during the government furlough.

With Republicans in control of the White House, the House and Senate, the party is firmly responsible for the unfolding drama. And if the government shuts down and Trump does nothing to protect the troops, he and the GOP will be to blame when military paychecks don’t arrive in coming weeks.

For now, Trump is trying to blame Democrats:

But again, Democrats don't run the federal government — Republicans do.

"If there is a shutdown, it’s a very, very simple vote to make sure troops and veterans aren’t affected. The only reason for Donald Trump to not promise he’ll call for and sign such a bill is so he can hold troops and veterans for ransom," says Will Fischer, an Iraq War veteran and VoteVets director of government relations. "His unwillingness to just say troops and veterans won’t be affected is causing real angst for military families. This guy should never be allowed to say he is pro-troop and pro-veteran again."

When Republicans forced a shut down in 2013 over the issue of trying to repeal Obamacare, President Barack Obama signed a bill that guaranteed troops would get paid even if the government stopped functioning for partisan reasons. (That shutdown lasted 17 days.)

The move also ensured continued pay for civilian employees at the Defense Department as well as Pentagon contractors whom Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel determined were “providing support to members of the Armed Forces.”

At the time, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced, "The soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines who risk their lives for this nation should not have their paychecks held hostage to any government shutdown in Washington."

To date, Trump and the GOP have taken no such precautions to safeguard troop pay, despite the fact the paychecks may halt in one week if Congress doesn't pass a spending bill.

The lack of action may be because Republicans don't want to publicly acknowledge the party might not be able to keep the government open. But the chances of a shutdown continue to rise with each passing day, especially with Trump acting so erratically and recklessly on the issue of immigration.

On Thursday, while negotiating the issue, Trump angrily told congressional leaders that he didn't want any more immigrants arriving in the U.S. from "shithole" countries, and instead would welcome newcomers from overwhelmingly white countries, like Norway.

Trump already has a long history as president of exploiting U.S. troops and trying to use them solely for political gain.