Former military leaders are rightly upset about Trump's 'absolutely obscene' Fourth of July plans.
Trump's July 4 celebration of himself looks to be so grotesque and over-the-top that retired military leaders and diplomats are coming forward with their concerns.
It's probably tempting for Trump and his allies to frame anyone that speaks out against his self-serving salute as a dissatisfied liberal of some sort, but even military personnel who served in Republican administrations are concerned.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno was the commander in Afghanistan during George W. Bush's administration. He told Politico that "this looks like it’s becoming much more of a Republican Party event — a political event about the president — than a national celebration of the Fourth of July."
He's right. What was previously a non-partisan celebration has been replaced with a militarized event for Trump to brag about himself to big Republican donors who get to snatch up prime seats for the event.
Another high-ranking veteran, Army Maj. Gen William Nash blasted Trump for "using the armed forces in a political ploy for his reelection campaign and I think it’s absolutely obscene."
Retired Lt. Gen Russel Honoré told Politico he was concerned about the speech becoming partisan "because troops shouldn't be listening to the president talk about the other party" and presidents "usually leave their party business out when they talk in front of military audiences."
Of course, Trump repeatedly injects his politics into his speeches to the military, even going so far as to take shots at the press while speaking to new Air Force graduates. There's zero chance he won't make his July Fourth remarks explicitly political.
People who spent time in Russia have also noted how much this entire event looks Soviet. Michael McFaul, the ambassador to Russia under President Obama, tweeted that watching trains full of tanks making their way to Washington, D.C., "reminds me of parades I used to attend in the Soviet Union."
Trump claims that "the Pentagon and our great military leaders are thrilled" with his Fourth of July plans. They don't have a choice about showing up. A defense official told CNN that service chiefs have been asked to stand with Trump during his self-serving "celebration."
It's unlikely we'll learn whether those current military leaders believe that Trump's banana republic-style antics are good. However, we definitely know what retired high-ranking veterans think: Trump shouldn't use the Fourth of July as a political celebration of himself or his party.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.