Trump's latest attack on veterans: Exposing their families to COVID

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Trump's refusal to take coronavirus seriously may have led to the infection of Gold Star families at the White House, continuing a trend of Trump disrespecting America's armed forces.

Last week, Donald Trump called in to Fox News to blame the military for infecting his long time aide Hope Hicks with the coronavirus, a statement as cruel is it is absurd, given Trump's refusal to take the virus seriously.

Now, recent reporting shows that Trump may have exposed Gold Star families to the virus. According to the Daily Beast, the Greatest Generation Foundation, which hosted an event for Gold Star families at the White House on Sept. 27, was contacted by the White House for "contact-tracing purposes after alerting us on 10/2 of a possible COVID-positive person at the event so we could know there was a potential our attendees were exposed."

On Thursday, Trump again pivoted to suggest the military was to blame for the outbreak in the White House, saying he might have caught it at the Gold Star family event.

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Trump's recklessness in failing to protect himself from the coronavirus — and by extension, those in his immediate vicinity, including military families and the Joint Chiefs of Staff — only his most recent blow to those connected to the armed forces.

Demeaning veterans

In 2018, during a trip to Paris, Trump refused to view a cemetery where 1,800 fallen marines lay buried, reportedly referring to them as "suckers" and "losers" for dying in combat. Similarly, in 2015 Trump attacked John McCain, the now-deceased former senator from Arizona, for being captured in Vietnam, where he was detained for over five years and tortured.

"I like people who weren't captured," Trump said. "He lost and let us down. I've never liked him as much after that."

Defunding Military Schools

Despite promising that Mexico would pay for his border wall on the campaign trail in 2016, Trump ultimately stripped away tens of millions in funding for the Ft. Campbell Middle School in Indiana and a child development center at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to pay for the still incomplete wall project.

In Trump's budget for 2019, more than $3.5 billion was cut from programs that affect soldiers and their families on military bases across the country.

Trump's continued attacks on the military and veterans mean that what was one a reliable bloc of support could be quickly eroding before the November election. In the Military Time's most recent poll from August, a majority of active-duty troops polled said they would vote for Biden over Trump, and 42% said they "strongly disapproved" of Trump's time in office.

Attacking Gold Star families

In addition to his most recent affront to Gold Star families, when he possibly exposed them to the coronavirus due to his own unwillingness to take social distancing and personal protection equipment seriously, Trump also attacked the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, whose husband died in 2017 during an ISIS ambush in Niger.

At the time, Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson, said that Trump had made her cry after they talked on the phone, forgetting her husband's name and tripping over his words. After the call, Trump began a smear campaign to distance himself from any culpability surrounding the Army sergeant's death.

"How much can a Gold Star family take?" Myeshia Johnson asked the media in the wake of Trump's abuse.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.