On his first Veterans Day as commander in chief, Trump lashed out at a highly-decorated veteran while defending Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
On his way to Vietnam for an economic conference, aboard Air Force One, reporters asked Trump about his campaign's collusion with Russia, which has already led to the arrest of three high-ranking Trump campaign officials, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
In a stunning statement, Trump says that he trusts the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin over that of U.S. intelligence agencies, including a highly-decorated veteran. Trump went so far as to call men with long, distinguished careers, "political hacks."
"I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks," Trump said. "So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them."
Trump's shocking denigration of the U.S. intelligence community is repugnant enough here at home; it is even more appalling while he is traveling abroad and ostensibly representing our nation on the global stage.
The men Trump insulted have had long careers in government service. But his attacks are especially egregious in the case of retired Lt. Gen. James Clapper.
Clapper is a distinguished military graduate from the University of Maryland. He flew more than 70 combat support missions in EC-47s, and served as the director of intelligence for three of the unified commands: U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Pacific Command, and Strategic Air Command. He also served as senior intelligence officer for the Air Force.
While the rest of America spends Veterans Day appreciating the men and women who have served in the armed forces, Trump continues to insult Americans while praising Russians.
Despite overwhelming evidence from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interferred with the 2016 election, Trump continues to stand by his pal Putin while throwing veterans and U.S. intelligence agencies under the bus.
"He [Putin] said he didn't meddle. He said he didn't meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times," Trump told reporters. "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that.' And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it."
By believing Putin, Trump is basically calling U.S. veterans like Clapper liars.
And some veterans groups are fed up with Trump's hypocrisy and insults.
"Donald Trump loves playing dress up, and pretending he’s a military guy. But ‘Bone Spurs Donnie’ ran away scared when his nation called," said Will Fischer of Vote Vets.
From insulting POWs by saying they were only heroes because they were captured, to insulting families of the fallen, to stiffing veterans charities until the Washington Post exposed him, to moving to privatize the Department of veterans affairs, Donald Trump has shown that his feelings about veterans only goes as far as how much he can get out of us for his own purposes. Donald Trump is easily – EASILY – the most anti-veteran President in the history of this country. It's not even close.
This likely won't be the last time that Trump insults our veterans. But on this day of all days, it certainly is one of the most despicable moments of his un-American presidency.